This song has been meandering through my mind all day. Oh, There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays...It's a song that we hear frequently on the airwaves at this time of the year. It conjures images of nostalgic warmth...fireplaces blazing, steaming hot cups of cider or hot cocoa, spicy earthy aromas and glittering lights on Christmas trees. The thought of this seasonal cheer has airplanes into the Grand Rapids, Michigan airport fully booked.
I think the holidays evoke this warmth because it is at this time that we pause to Celebrate and Remember what makes our homes Special. For some it's the food and holiday baking. We delight in getting together with family and re-kindling friendships. This is also time when we savor some relaxation after a hectic year. And of course, there are the presents!
But the appreciation of home need not wane during the remaining 330 odd days of the year. We should never take our dwelling places for granted or dimish the Value of having a home to simply another Financial investment like an IRA or Savings Account. Our homes offer something an investment simply cannot. Our homes are our personal refuge, a haven...a place where we can let down our guard and just be!
We recently attended a formal dinner party and were seated next to an elegant couple in their mid to late 60's. At the end of the event, we continued our conversation and discovered that they had lived in one of the coastal states that was hit by Hurricane Katrina. In fact, they had been in their brand new, beach-front home a grand total of 7 days before the devastation hit their community, wiping out their home to it's bare foundations.
I listened as the lady shared her story. She told of the horror of not being able to locate your community because all the markers were gone...no street signs, no landmarks...just bare ground. She shared about being trapped within the nightmare because the roads were blocked and there was very limited fuel. She described waiting in line for 5 hours for a meal and then turning around to go back to the end of the line to begin waiting again. She said that for the next month, their car became her home.
We simply listened. When she finished speaking, I asked them how they had rebuilt their lives without becoming bitter and cynical? She looked at us and said..."it wasn't easy, but you have to move on." Eventually, they were able to move back to Michigan and get back on their feet. Now, several years later, they had recently moved into a new home.
I asked them why they had chosen Michigan? They replied that they had family in the area and then the lady said something else. She told me that when they were finally able to get out, having lost substantial investments and savings, she had looked for a place in which her heart felt safe. They had the opportunity to rebuild, but her spirit had not been comfortable. She did not feel she had the stamina within her to undergo another hurricane.
I was struck by how different the criteria that she described was from what we normally hear discussed when looking for a place to live. Buyers are often consumed with the price of the home and the amenities, the location and the school district. The frenzied pace of home purchasing has changed our relationship to the process. We're more mechanical. A home is often judged in terms that are sans spiritus...devoid of the the energy that informs a decision grounded in grace.
I think that this process has stripped away some important essential elements which have transformative power. Homes are where lives are built, children raised, relationships restored. It is at home that we first encounter the essential goodness of being a part of the human family. When the home purchasing process ignores these elements, the process is impoverished. In a world in which houses are Valued with a ticket price and put on the shelf for public display it would serve us well to remember that... Homes are created by the wealth inside the inhabitants who live in them. There's no Price Sticker big enough to place a Value on that!
This post was inspired by a recent comment by Lenn Harley on my blog post 3 Winning Strategies For Selling Your Home During the Foreclosure Crisis.
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Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ email@example.com or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!