Thursday, August 2, 2007

Home Terminology

Why does everyone refer to a "house" as a "home"?

As in "they just put in a new row of luxury homes," or "we just bought our first home." I hate thinking of it as a commodity that could be constructed or purchased just like that. Really, the physical building is more of the shell of the home, just as the body is the shell of the soul. And it can be in any sort of place, not just a single-family dwelling: rental apartment, old shack, college dormitory... I have found home in all of these places.

Home is something sacred, the place where a person feels safe, accepted, and unconditionally loved. You cannot purchase it with money and you cannot build it simply with a construction crew and a pile of 2x4s. It is something that is patiently woven by delicate spiders with warm and pulsing hearts. These spiders do not even need to be related.

Equating house with home degrades that beautiful word into something that can simply be fabricated with enough cash. Developers use the pleasant imagery conjured by the term to achieve their aims, to sell their product to accepting families who believe the purchase will finally provide a “home.” But what a lot of people don’t realize is that the home is something that we carry in our hearts whenever we dwell with those we love. Referring to the physical structure as a home seriously limits our thinking.

Heheh... and anyway, how will we ever fight suburban sprawl if everyone thinks this is the only option?

1 comment:

Beth said...

I often wish that people would practice precision of language with greater commitment.