Once upon a time, two men working in same office were talking. One asked the other to follow him to the restaurant and the other told him “No, I am going home.” Many people confuse us with this word “home.” Many people confuse a house or town to be a home because it provides shelter or people of shared values. Where is really a home? A home is not really where you are born or your native place where relatives live. Infact home is psychological; it is where you can be and become who you should be and plan your life without stress and discrimination. Home is where you have psychological comfort for yourself and those who come to visit you.
Home is anywhere you can feel happy because everybody is friendly. The politics of today has bastardized what a real home should be. Few people feel that the privileges given to them in some places qualify that place as their home. The nuances created for people in that place can’t make it a home! A home is a place without hostility but peace. It is not your native locale where everybody speaks same language and eats pounded yam or “ewedu”. It is not a place of common heritage but where civilized men live and interact. They may not come from same place. It is not a place you are thorn into pieces and begin to remember the day you were born. It is a place of humanity, a noiseless place where you can hear a bird sing and hear whispers clearly.
It is not just my town; it is beyond that. It can be a mini paradise not paradise lost. Paradise in the sense that everybody is there to be happy and the smiles received from people become infectious and not plastic. Not where you will be accused of what you did not do. Not a place divided by religion, ethnicity or tribalism. It is a place where when you come back anytime, you feel relaxed and fulfilled not like an office place where protocols are observed. It is not a place where lavish buildings are erected and when people come back, there is noise everywhere. You may have exorbitant houses but no one to live in. It is not a place you go to once in many years.
It would take many years to be transformed into a home. You may struggle to repaint a dilapidated building but it can’t still be a home. It is you that can make a place a home through the home of your heart. It is through your heart you can make a place a home through the peace you create. The hospitality of your home is testified by people that come around. It’s not just by installing sacred heart in your house yet there are unknown problems in your house. The real home is easily felt when anyone visits, the comfort, serenity and even a polite handshake at the gate defines the home you are entering. They may not give you any food you have not eaten before but the treatment and respect they give you defines who you are and you will never regret going their again.
You can build a castle and magnificent houses but it can’t really be a home. It is not where you see artifacts; marriage photos carved with gold and the furniture in the house look very intimidating. A home is not a place of show but a simple place you can enjoy yourself and feel the essence of God in your life and in what you do. It is a place where unique things happen when friends meet and an enemy can come but the place would disarm him. When people say they are going home, do they really know what they are saying? Do they think it’s just a house? Home is a home of your heart where you dish out Jesus values to accommodate everybody irrespective of the stress gotten at work. No bullying at one another. It is a place where values are intact, a mini Nazareth to be remembered. You carry your home anywhere go!
• Very Rev. Monsignor Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a crusader of Peace and Social Justice.