Last week I addressed the question, “what is home?” A friend from my Korea days posted a reflection on “The Grace of Place” from the Columban Mission Institute:
“But as sensate human beings, we know an awareness of place is more than survival. We like to belong to a place. Places care for us. Place is in our memories, telling the stories of where we have come from and helping define who we are. Place informs our world view. It is part of our culture, where we celebrate our rituals.”
Another persons said it came down to the question of “where do you want to be buried?” I’ve asked this question of myself many times. For some reason I think it matters.
I’ve always believed in the importance of rituals. Growing up in a country of ritual and tradition taught me it matters where we live, how we grieve, and where we bury our dead. I remember as a young girl passing green mounded countryside gravesites of South Korea. During the fall festival of Chuseok the hillsides came alive with family members grooming graves, setting offerings of fruit, rice cakes, and soju, and bowing to ancestors. Something in these gestures taught me it was important to pay homage to the people who came before us, to remember where we come from. In Korea, Chuseok is a time for people to connect with their roots. Across the country trains are packed and roads are jammed with cars carrying people to their hometowns. I always wanted to be buried on one of those Korean countryside hills.
This got me thinking. What rituals, if any, do you still keep that remind you of home? If you live far away from your people and the place(s) you consider home, what keeps you connected to those people and places? And lastly, when the time comes, where do you want to be buried or scattered? Do you think it matters?
Thanks for all the comments from last week’s posting. I compiled a few of them here.
Home is where you are understood.
We find home in the people who understand us regardless of where we are.
…I felt like I had moved home – to a place I needed and where I could give back. Its amazing to live somewhere where people will go to extraordinary measures to help their neighbors.
I had an ah ha moment many years ago that home for me didn’t exist, because by definition I am a permanent foreigner. I will always be an outsider and this is actually what I am best at doing.
Home for me is the charcoal fires of Africa (most of it), the Maine coast, sometimes Heathrow terminal 5, and always when I come home to my two and four footed men. It is complex and terrifying and often painfully lonely, but I know the search well. And is the search for home running from something or to something. For me, home is when (not where, but when) I feel safe.
For me home is about feeling ‘safe’ and being seen and able to express myself without feeling judged.