We asked our writers to talk about ‘home’ this issue and tell us what it means to them. I’d love to know what it means to you too.
I know I can be idealistic at times, and even more so when it comes to living out God’s kingdom here on earth. For example, I think every house should have an annexe attached, closed off from the main house with its own entrance. Those of us who have them often use the space for Airbnbs and extended family members with whom we would rather not share a kitchen. This is fine, but I would love to see these spaces opened up to strangers with no homes who might pop in just to shower before an interview (which could get them off the streets) or for a bed while they are waiting for long-term housing. Friends tell me this is crazy. Some say that people will take advantage: “Let one in and next thing you know, you’ll have a house full of junkies that won’t leave!” Others say that homelessness is the government’s problem. Perhaps, and I’m not naïve enough to think this very simple solution would work. But wouldn’t it be amazing if it did?
Earlier this year, I ended up staying with friends and family, who took me in without making me feel like a burden. I was a guest for about six months due to ill-health and we ate, drank, read, streamed movies and talked in mostly shared spaces as naturally as if it were an intentional home set-up.
Moving back to my own place in the last couple of months, I’ve been able to share that hospitality with someone else, as a friend of mine has been staying with me until her new place is ready. Despite my earlier holy exaltations of opening up our homes to others, I am extremely fastidious about cleanliness and realise now how stressful it must be for guests who cannot escape my subtle gaze as they navigate spilling large glasses of red wine across my pure wool cream rug, which was flown in from the Atlas Mountains. But I also remember that my easy-going hosts did not put any pressure on me in that area, and how freeing that was. So I have decided to take the same approach with my current house guest. To be honest, it’s probably my fault for having a rug in the kitchen anyway.
I’m usually on my own at Christmas unless I make plans or am invited to stay with someone else. This year I’m going to invite others to celebrate with me. It may not be a Hallmark Christmas, but it will be home and that’s God’s kingdom on earth for me.
If you are an experienced writer and would like to write in response to something you’ve seen on TV or heard in the news, please email us using firstname.lastname@example.org Please note we are not looking for reflective pieces at this time.