Where is Home for You? It May Not Be Where You Live

Where is ‘home’ for you—that place where you feel you most belong? Is it the house where you grew up? Is it your current home? Is it just being with your loved ones, wherever you are, or is it something else entirely? As you’ll see, when the topic of ‘home’ was given to me by the producers of BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought it caused a bit of soul searching. For some, home isn’t a place but a state. For others, home is a city they visited for a short time but have never been back to. And for me? Well, read or listen on…

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Where is Home?

The last time I visited my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, I had an eerie experience. One night I drove to Kangaroo Point—a cliff top that provides a stunning view of the city—and as I sat there watching the cars rush by on Riverside Drive and the city’s lights shimmer on the Brisbane River, I realised I could see the spots where some of my significant life events took place.

In front of me was the bustling city, where I’d come as a teenager to buy records and feel ‘grown up’. To my right was the Story Bridge, which my dad had driven me across each day to my very first job. To the left was Southbank, the park where Merryn and I had our first date. The first flat I rented was up the river and to the left—it was a converted storeroom with a cockroach problem, but I felt so free and independent living there. And to the right of that was the first radio station I worked at.

As I sat reliving these memories I was struck by something: even with all these experiences, Brisbane didn’t feel like ‘home’ for me. And it never had.

Our Pause for Thought theme this week is a significant one as, in some ways I’ve been searching for home for some time. It wasn’t until Merryn and I moved to Sydney that I truly felt at home. In Sydney long-held dreams came true, the beauty of Sydney Harbour captured my soul, I was doing work that mattered, and its cosmopolitan feel meant I didn’t have to like football and beer to fit in! I could be ‘me’ in Sydney.

Home is a place of belonging. It’s where you can be yourself and be loved for it. In this sense friends and family are ‘home’ for me, particularly Merryn. Her acceptance means home is wherever we are together. And God is ‘home’ for me. I can feel a sense of home praying in a hotel far away because wherever he is, home is.

But home is also a place of becoming. It’s a place that challenges us to grow and share our God-given gifts with the world. This is what Sydney gave me that Brisbane didn’t. This is what Oxford is giving me now.

So this is what I’ve learnt along my search:

Home is a place of belonging and becoming—where you can be who you truly are, and become who you’re truly meant to be.

First aired on Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2’s early breakfast show

Main image: ‘home’ by Xiu Xiu (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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  • March 4, 2015
    Clare Alice

    If I follow your definition of home Sheridan then tonight I felt a beautiful and strong sense of “coming home” when I went to the worship team meeting and rehearsal night at my church for the first time in four years after a long break. I came home to a team of musicians and singers and techies who love to serve God and his church and his kingdom , friends I have grown up with playing music over more than 20 years . Those kind of friendships cannot be manufactured . I felt so welcomed , loved , remembered, and so centred and enjoying the moment…

    I also felt deeply at home in my own house recently during a particularly wonderful family gathering.

    For me, I think a sense of home is one of real “oneness ” with the present – the people, things and activities around you . And a happy , contented restful ness that comes with that .

    • March 4, 2015

      That definition works for me too, Clare. A deep sense of connection. So glad you found that this week.

  • March 5, 2015
    kay morgan-gurr

    Totally agree with your definition. In my teens and early 20s ‘home’ was a place I avoided and stayed away from as long as possible. I can now see it wasn’t home, but rather, where I lived. Where I live now is not just my home but my sanctuary and my shelter.

    What changed? My hubby Steve, to use your phraseology, has made home a place of belonging and becoming—where I can be who I truly am, and has allowed me to become who I was truly meant to be. He has nurtured me.

    With our work being Itinerant in nature (Been all over the country in just three weeks!) and my personality being that of an introvert – travelling away from home is regular and pressured. And yet, there are other places where I ‘feel’ at home. Having read your piece I can see they are places where these same values are upheld for all who visit.

    • March 10, 2015

      That word ‘sanctuary’ is important too, Kay. Home needs to be a place where we can regroup before going back out into the world. Lovely thoughts, thank you.

  • March 8, 2015
    Bek Baxter

    Spot on Sheridan. For me its always been the people I love and God at work in and through me that gives me that sense of ‘Home’. Its in the loving communities of faith that I truly know I have found that place of belonging.


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