Blog post #524 There is no place like home

There is no place like home

I “just” returned home (okay, it was yesterday about noon) from an 11 day adventure in Europe.  It was a Rhine River cruise with my wife, two of her sisters, one other spouse, and one friend. We started in Amsterdam, up the river to Basel

But, more on the trip later.

Today, I want to think of the word “Home”

I was born in Cedar Rapids Iowa – is that home?

I went to college and later taught in Winona Minnesota – is that home?

We were 18 years in South Dakota – is that home?

We were 13 years in Connecticut – is that home?

And, we have lived in the Austin Texas area for five-and-one-half years – is that home?

I’m thinking of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicking her shoes and saying “There is no place like home”

Or the song we will hear in the next month “There is no place like home for the holidays”.

Or the Christmas movies “Home Alone”

“Home” is a powerful term.  Ask somebody to think of “home” and they may remember their childhood home; or the current home (or someplace in-between).

There is a spiritual song – This Earth is not my home” – with these lyrics:

This world is not my home I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore”

We don’t really know much about ‘heaven’ or the afterlife (or really if there is one).  In the Judeo-Christian view, there is a heaven. Even other religions believe in heaven.  

Someday I am going to die (fact); someday something will happen to me and my body (fact).  Is my body/soul just going to rot in a grave (not sure); is my soul/spirit going to heaven(not sure, but I hope so); will I be reincarnated as something else (one of the Hindu thoughts).  The afterlife becomes a ‘belief’ – something that (as of now) can’t be proven or disproven.

On our trip, we stopped in Strasbourg France. It is in the Alsace region.  Poor Alsace has bounced around for years. Part of the Roman Empire overthrew their government and (feudalist with the French Revolution. Prior to 1871, Alsace was ‘kind of’ a French providence.  In 1871 Germany defeated France and in the peace treaty got Alsace and part of Lorraine in the settlement. Then came World War I and Germany lost so Alsace became French again; then Hitler conquered France and made Alsace German again; and in the World War II peace treaty, Alsace became French again.  Our guide indicated that many in the region speak both French and German. So, if my family moved to Alsace in (say) 1880 as Germans, could I say that it was my homeland?

So, what is ‘home’?  Can I call Germany ‘home’ as I had some German ancestors?  Can I call Ireland ‘home’ as I had some Irish ancestors?

Our modern society has people moving from place to place.  My grandparents lived in Cedar Rapids all their life; my parents lived in Cedar Rapids for over 70 years but moved to Michigan.  Is there a cemetery for me someplace? (I think I want to be cremated).

‘Home’ is still a difficult problem in the Middle-East.  The Jews have called it their ‘homeland’ and in 1947 it became so.  But, the Palestinians also have called it ‘home’. And, the fight for who can really call the area “home” continues.  

“Home” is also rough in Russian and Ukraine.  Is the Ukraine area really just part of Russia? What is ‘home’ for these people?

So, as I come home from a long trip – is Texas home for me?  Currently, it is. But what if I move to South Africa or Nepal or anyplace – won’t that become ‘home’ to me?

To me the song above make sense – “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through”  In a few years I will be dead and I really don’t care if Texas is my ‘home’ or not.

What is ‘home’ to you?


Posted by Bruce White

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