“There’s no place like home”. — Dorothy
The quote is as synonymous with the speaker as the ruby slippers that transport her home. There’s little doubt that when Dorothy clicks her red slippers three times she’ll be whisked back to the safety of her home in Kansas.
But what if it’s not that easy for the rest of us?
This line is spoken by Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, in the film The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming et al. (1939).
At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has defeated the Wicked Witch of the West and revealed the true nature of Oz, and now she’s ready to go back to Kansas. She’s fought the good fight and her troubles are resolved.
Glinda the good witch instructs her to click her fashionable ruby heels together and think to herself, “There’s no place like home.” Dorothy must have missed the whole think to yourself part because she says it aloud a few times before waking up back in Kansas, as though she never left at all.
What happens when home is a place we can’t define?
In life outside the movies we’re still fighting the good fight, or at least trying to make sense of life.
What if we’re infused in the battleground of life and we’re not able to go home yet?
Can minimalism bring freedom from life? James Altucher lives out of a backpack and has no address. He has one bag of clothes, one backpack with a computer, iPad, and phone. He has zero other possessions.
When we hiked Camino de Santiago we lived a similar lifestyle. When we woke up in the morning we had no idea where we would sleep that night. It could be a hostel or an albergue. Some registered their lodging ahead of time. They had to cover a certain number of kilometers each day so they could bed down for the night.
We hiked with our girls and it was a bit of a wild card as to how much ground we could cover each day. We found lodging each night when we were ready to stop. There were nights we had to push farther than we thought because there were no vacancies. Overall, we didn’t have much trouble finding a place to call home for the night.
Home is wherever you are.
Home is wherever you make it.
We didn’t have to think about things because we didn’t have enough things to think about. We could come and go as we pleased, with no notice. The expectation is that you move on the next day.
After we finished hiking we stayed a month at a time in one place. I suppose we were home, because there’s no place like it, as Dorothy says, but it was temporary. And, it wasn’t ours.
On the last leg of the trip, we began and ended the time at Bodegon Restaurante Matias, La Orotava. Some of the best food we’d eaten in all of Spain was enjoyed in that restaurant.
The owners of the restaurant were our landlords and they have become our life-long friends. Jose Antonio and Fabiola lived in quarters on the backside of that building for 20 years with their 7 dogs. It is the place we stayed while we were there. We are the first people they shared their home with.
We’ve been back more than seven weeks and we don’t know where our home is. Our stuff is still contained and we haven’t been back to get it. We’re staying with family temporarily and everything is confusing about “home”. Right now we don’t have one.
The best night of our lives since we’ve returned was spent away from those we are tied to by blood. We connected with people half a world away.
We use WhatsApp to trade pictures of our kids for their dogs.
We’re confused about where we’re supposed to be. As soon as we receive the answers we’ll go there. In the meantime, our hearts and minds are planted in Spain, holding memories of our cultural family. The place we long to call home is with them.
For now, we’ll have to bloom where we are planted, even if we have no roots.
Matthew 6:25 says:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
The truth is, we do worry a little. We’re all in pain because we thought we were coming home, and we don’t belong here.
Where do we belong? If not here, then where?
We’re still not planted, so we have to work through the thorns and bloom.
We’re lost in the Emerald City looking for home.
If it feels so good to be home, why can’t we find a place to call our home?