Thoughts with Richard Bleil
A friend of mine posted on her social media page a meme about home that got me to thinking. I’ve rarely felt like I’ve been home, and although the meme was, apparently, meant to be funny, frankly it broke my heart, frankly because it did remind me of how homeless I truly am, and have been for my entire life. There were four panels with a cartoon in each.
The first panel said, “Home can be a house”. This is true. I guess that if I went to visit the old home in North Riverdale (near Dayton) it might bring back memories of home. This was the first house where I have memories, so it was the location of my childhood innocence, but you don’t need a house to feel at home. I live in a house now, but it still doesn’t really feel like home to me. It feels far more stable and a lot safer than I’ve felt in several years before moving in, but it doesn’t feel like home. It’s the most crowded barren house in the world. I have too much stuff in here, but it’s missing life. I have a cat. She feels like home to me, but frankly I don’t think she cares.
The next panel said that home can be the ocean. Some people don’t feel at home unless they are on or near the ocean. I understand this. I feel closest to God when I can hear waves falling over rocks or lapping the shoreline. I think I would truly enjoy living on a boat, the freedom of pulling up anchor and following the seasons would be great. I don’t think my cat Star would like it, though.
The third panel said that home can be the mountains. This sounds a little too similar to “home can be the ocean”, but yes, home can be the mountains. Honestly, you can pick any location and make it one of the panels (home is the city, the farm, the gulf and so forth). I have to admit, though, the location that felt closest to home with me was in the Black Hills of South Dakota, especially when I moved into my second apartment with the view. There’s something about the hills that I loved. I enjoyed the hiking trails, forest, smells, caves and so on. Yes, I admit, I felt most at home there.
The final panel said that home can be a person. The cartoon showed an alien bursting out of a person’s chest, but I think it undermines what this last panel could truly mean. I’ve felt this. Rarely, but I’ve felt it. There are a few women that I have known through the years in whose arms I’ve felt more at home than anywhere else I’d ever been. It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t mutual, though. Mary was one of those beautiful (inside and out) women. She was my first real date after graduating from undergraduate and holding her in my arms felt so incredibly comfortable, and safe, and, well, she felt like home to me. Sadly, she didn’t feel the same. We were in our early twenties, and she had been dating a man from her high school through college and broke up with him just before graduation. She told me that she just knew that she didn’t want to be with him forever and it was better to end it before he proposed (which he was apparently planning on doing on graduation day). I think she was just in the right place for me then. She had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and was still young and wanting to enjoy her freedom. She just wasn’t ready for me, and when she said she didn’t want me, well, I felt the same way that I did when I was homeless. Or, perhaps more appropriately, houseless.
When we say that somebody is homeless, I think we tend to assume it means that they don’t have a house, apartment, or someplace to stay. I’ve been there. Thanks to my friends who were willing to let me stay with them I’m still alive today, but there is a difference between staying with a charitable friend and having a place of your own.
But being homeless isn’t just having a safe place to stay. I think that being at home means being with somebody who makes you feel at home. I’m homeless today because I’m so alone, but I’m certainly not the only one. There are so many people who have lost their hearts and their homes when their significant others pass away, or unexpectedly move out. Under the best of circumstances, it takes a while to bounce back, or sometimes, you just never do. And here we are coming up on the season that those of us who are alone dread the most, and it lasts for a third of the year. Be kind and understanding for those of us who don’t know how to act or be happy in this season. Maybe we’re just feeling lost and homeless.