Where The Heart Is

Home fits nicely in a little pouch I wear on my belt.

I went on Christmas Eve after getting off work and before church and then the family get-together and watched Up In The Air.

The short version — it was a good movie, I recommend it, and I enjoyed it. The long version, I’m still working on. It had a lot to say about connections and relationships and home and the things we carry and the things that define us, while at the same time not really saying anything at all about them. If there was a point, I declined to get it, seeing it instead as a weapon of mass deconstruction that I’ll be unpacking for a while to come. And, even watching it, I was aware that a person could see one thing in the movie because of where they were while watching it, while someone watching it in a different place would see something completely different. And since I’m in a completely different place than I was when I was watching the movie, the process of unpacking it was made a little more complicated.

But the first sentence of this blog post is the most clearly defined thought in my head as I walked out of the theater. The stuff about relationships, yeah, I’m still mulling. But the idea of home was another big part of the movie. George Clooney’s character has a permanent residence, but it’s not home. Home is travel — he feels far more at home in airports and airplanes than he does where he “lives.” His constant is transience.

And I’m not that bad. But, I’ll admit, while I own a house, right now, it’s not really home. It’s the place where I sleep and do my laundry and keep my stuff. I eat there all too rarely. I spend some of my downtime there, but I would, for example, just as soon read somewhere else than at my house — frequently at one of the places I’m eating instead of eating at the house. Left to my own devices, I’m far more likely to watch a movie in the theater than at my house, despite a rather decent collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays, many of which I’ve not seen. For various reasons, my house is also now about the antithesis of the center of my social life.

The truth is, and I’m just talking through this, refraining the temptation to make value judgments on myself — my iPhone is closer to being home than my house is. It’s far more integral to my relationships than my house is. It is a part of the important parts of my life. I have a shelf of photos in my house that are out of date; I’m far more likely to share a picture from my iPhone.

There was a song a few years ago that used to really bug me, “Through Glass,” by Stone Sour, that contained the line “no one ever tells you that forever feels like home.” Huh? You know, there’s probably a good reason nobody ever tells you that. They also never tell you that tomorrow smells like love or that possibility looks like neighbors. Home is a concept; I’ve been on trips that both coming and going, I was going home.

It’s not that uncommon for home to be somewhere other than a primary residence — be it the office, someone else’s house, even something smaller, like a car. But what does it mean for home to be not a place at all? Hmmmm.

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