Home for the Holidays
- Published on Friday, 14 December 2012 20:38
|By: Jean Ford|
Home for the Holidays
Okay, I confess: I’m a sentimental sap during the holiday season. Even a hint of home & hearth, family & friends, faith & miracles, or simply wishes come true reduces this otherwise professional persona to tears. Perhaps the worst offender? The notion of “home for the holidays.” Ironic, isn’t it? Especially for the person responsible for finding, qualifying and placing Habitat families in homes of their own.
Home, for, the, holidays. Four unremarkable words in and of themselves, but string them together and powerful things start to happen. Joyful anticipation floods the twenty-something as he heads back to the ol’ neighborhood; eager grandkids can’t wait to sit on Nana’s knee; welcome relief floods the professional as she returns to where she can be simply she; and childlike wonder grasps the faithful’s hearts as they contemplate spiritual home. Rockwellian images, to be sure, but very real images – for some.
For others, “home for the holidays” stirs equally powerful, but very different, emotions: hearts ache for a recently lost loved one – “home” will never be the same; memories flood a recent divorcee, grieving what once was “home”; a tear wells in a soldier’s eye; a parent anguishes over tucking his child in a shelter’s bed; an alienated soul cries out to the God it feels has been silent too long. The human experience is rich and varied indeed, and so much of it is integrally woven into our concept of “home.”
Where does that leave this sentimentalist? With the conviction that, fundamentally, home is far more than a street address. Yet, I’m in a business that provides physical spaces our families eventually call “home.” I’ve been thinking a lot about that these days.
Someone once said, “It takes many hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” Here at Habitat, I believe we do both. Many, many hands help us in a variety of capacities, all year long, and each and every set ultimately contributes to constructing our houses, either indirectly or directly. But just as many hearts motivate and sustain all those hands. We build houses, yes, but we also build homes.
As a new year opens before us, please know how thankful we are for both the hands and hearts that build with us. A much-wiser-than-I angel-second-class once observed, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.” (Clarence, “It’s a Wonderful Life” – yes, I don’t just get teary eyed at the end; I downright sob.) Each and every Habitat volunteer, donor, friend, staff, and partner family touches so many other lives, and each, in his or her own way, contributes to our families’ notions of home – even what “home for the holidays” means to them. Now that brings a tear to my eye.