Defining Home

Recently I spent a few days with my family in my hometown. It was my brother's birthday, so I decided to drive through the night to surprise him. He had no clue that I was coming for a visit. Keeping the secret turned out to be a challenge. He asked almost daily when I was planning on coming to visit, but excuses or vague statements were the only things I could tell him. I was determined to keep the secret and surprise him for his birthday.

During my hours on the road, I had a lot of time to think. My mind continued to come back to a question that has run through my head lately, how do you define home? Is it a house? Is it family? Is it a physical location? What do you really mean when you say, "I'm going home."?

Home means many things to many people. For some, home brings back memories they never wanted to remember. For others it is the most treasured and precious place in the entire world. What does home mean for you?

How do you know when you are home? For me, I am home when I see the smile of my littlest sister, or when I roughhouse with my brother. Having my head scratched by my sister instantly puts me back home. Even though these are characteristics of home for me, none fully encompass what it truly means.

My definition of home is simple. Home is where people are excited to see you. When you walk into a room and are welcomed by someone calling your name or a close friends running to give you a hug. That is home. It isn't a physical location. Instead it is the memories of that location with people who you care about. Home is about relationships and the memories you have made with friends. It is about the stories you created that you will continue to tell throughout your entire life. That is home.