“Welcome Home”


Today, I’m thinking of the people who won’t hear these words.

The veterans who won’t come home to loving arms — or at all.

Those we call displaced, refugees, whose homes are quite simply no more.

Those who had to flee their homes because of war or drought or famine.

Those whose homes were destroyed, physically leveled, by storm or quake.

Those who were kicked out of their homes because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Those who ran from abuse, whose home wasn’t safe to begin with.

Today, I’m thinking about how those two words, “welcome home,” sound at first so sweet and good. Whether at the end of a long day, a short outing, or years away, to be welcomed home is something that should be received and appreciated.

It is not a given.

It’s nice to think about home being the breath, the body, the heart. Home as belonging with oneself, or with God if that’s your thing (it is for me, in ways unbound by dogma or dharma or religion at all).

But it’s also not the same, at least for me, as the physical structures of home and the people we share them with. The markers of home that shape and sooth us — the scents, the seasons, the flora and fauna, the birds and songs, the vibe, the color of the dirt, the lilt of language. These can be carried with but not replaced.

I’m thinking about those whose hills and valleys, whose mountains and lakes, whose rivers and cities, have been ravaged, whose borders have been moved and moved and moved, rewritten, blurred, and buried.

I’m thinking of those who were born in transit. What is their home? Their mother’s breast? Their sister’s little hand?

Those for whom home is forever lost. Lost because of danger or destruction or both. Lost because of greed and crossfire and hatred. Lost because of erasure.

My heart breaks today for the millions who have lost their homes.

May I keep them close, as I move through my own.