Reading “Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather” by the Chinese writer Gao Xingjian I realised I was never homesick. And it made me sad.
I had a home, that is a place to stay, with a roof and walls. My emotional associations therewith were of an orphan longing to escape. As soon as the opportunity materialised itself, I joyfully departed for good, with a bag of cloths in my hand. Only to return on a couple of unhappy occasions, which became more and more distant and reduced to none over the last years.
There were many whys in my mind. Why a home is rejecting instead of welcoming? Why those who live there are trapped in their own unhappiness? Why a home is not cherished as it should be?…. .
Responses to these and other whys do not matter anymore to me. I learned to build a home in my heart. It stays with me, wherever I go. It welcomes happy thoughts and happy people. It accepts me as I am. It offers shelter when I need it. It asks nothing of me. It gives me plenty. I realise it also saves me from being homesick to the point of physical or mental illness.
I later built my own nest for my family. My life taught me to cherish and protect it and make it a space crowned with love. My partner still prefers to say “I’m coming home to you”.
Home is where love is. It can be your house. It can be a tree house. It can be your heart. What matters is how it makes you feel. Today and everyday.