Perhaps, if you've lived in one place all your life, the answer should come easily, instantaneously. Where else, otherwise, could you call home, if you've never experienced something different?
But it's a question that has been put to me rather frequently of late; by my friends, myself, and most importantly, my parents. To my friends, I tell them blithely, "I'm a citizen of the world"; to myself, I scratch my head and try to banish the question into the depths of my mind; to my parents, well, I make non-committal, guilty noises.
In the physical sense, home is where I hang my hat and lay my head; that answer comes quickly. Other maxims come to mind; home is where the heart is (where is the heart?); heaven is my home (what is heaven?). A flood of images, experiences, emotions, feelings, are tied to such weighty words as "home" and "heaven."
Some places have a sense to them. It is a feeling of shelter, of hiddenness, and the ability to gaze out at the world, unseen. In one academic design project, we were asked to choose and consider a space, to evaluate it, break it down into components, as if a recipe, and then to use the recipe to design other spaces with the same feeling.
I discussed two experiences of space. One was sitting out on a pier on the lakefront; I was sheltered from view in the shadows of some structure (probably with a light on top), with the landscape spread before me. Hidden, seeing, without being seen. Another experience is that of swimming in a pool in the morning: sunlight dancing on the pool floor, refracted by my passing. There could have been a hundred people watching me intently: nothing mattered but my interaction with the water and the light on the floor.
There are other safe places, there are other safe spaces. Those places, those spaces, may not be home, but they sure feel like it.
Blgriffith made a wonderful post over at hypersync in which he writes about how people react to him when he's wearing his clerical collar. I encourage everybody to go read the rest of the post, but here is the last paragraph:
This is the responsibility of the clergy - to be holy even as Christ was/is holy despite the fact that we will fail more often than not. We who are the representatives of Christ on earth have this high-calling to put aside ourselves and take upon ourselves the Cross, so that when people see someone in a clerical collar they know that they are safe and free to approach us, even in confession, even in a plea for help, even in passing out a hand-bill when one is shy or afraid. This is what it means to be one who points to God.
It seems that some people, of any stripe or creed, are similarly but invisibly marked: they, too, are approachable, accepting, slow to anger, slow to judge, quick to pardon, seeking to understand, seeking to love, seeking to do right. They create a space where the tide of fear is held back, where no secret is too dark, no failure too deep, where any uncertainty is permitted. Where our humanity can be laid bare without shame or judgement.
Upon meeting such people, no outward sign is necessary: the mark is clear as a Roman collar. Presence is all that is needed: this is Heaven, this is home.