Here on Connie’s World, it is my pleasure to welcome Monica Lee, the author of Church Sweet Home and three other books. Today, she writes about home, a topic we both address in our respective memoirs.
When one thinks of a journey or an adventure, exotic destinations come to mind. Who bothers to embark on a long trip only to end up at home?
But in this odd world filled with government orders, infection rates and death counts, home is the blessed end of many treks out in the world. Whatever we’re doing—seeing a doctor, going to work, even simply buying fresh produce at the supermarket—we all just want to get home. Home is the ultimate destination, a sanctuary from all the world’s evils.
Even the word home evokes warm, fuzzy feelings. No wonder home, sweet home is a saying. We’re always looking for home, making a home, just being ourselves at home, reminiscing about home or trying to go back home. Home represented love, comfort and security long before lethal viruses floated through bandana face masks sending us to the hospital to die horrible, lonely deaths.
So while a travelogue is a great distraction in this strange time (I recently enjoyed Bill Bryson’s jaunt through Australia in In a Sunburned Country), a story where home plays a starring role may be the best salve to soothe the soul.
My latest memoir, Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the Soul, opens with my husband and I marveling at the snow falling outside our camper. Yes, we were camping in northern Illinois in late October. We weren’t foolhardy outdoorsmen; we lived in our RV at the time, trying to figure out how to carve out a living space in a century-old church.
We called the 355-square-foot fifth-wheel camper home because we’d sold our four-bedroom house earlier in the year to travel through the West Coast. It was an epic trip, but our home was like a turtle shell, one we carried on our back. During the renovation of the church into a residence, we lived in the camper, a tiny rental house, back to the camper and finally the church. The building inspector required a functioning bathroom and kitchen and a real bedroom before issuing a residential permit for the church, but of course, almost everyone agrees a home is so much more than plumbing, kitchen appliances and a bed.
In my story, home is a literal space.
In Connie Rife’s story, home is less a specific place than an emotional one. In The Promise: A Memoir, Connie is looking for the security and love only loved ones can provide. She begins her journey with her sometimes irritating yet nonetheless related little sister, progresses to a house in which she becomes more a mother to her benefactor’s children than the real mother, and then to an apartment she shares with her sometimes recovering alcoholic father. All of these places have functioning bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but none of them are really home because the people she shares the spaces with are wrapped up in their own responsibilities and problems.
So a true home requires certain physical luxuries and also emotional security. In order to be a true sanctuary, a home must be an oasis, a shelter in the storm.
Your turn! How would you define home? What is essential? Anything missed? Share below!
Have you read books in which home is the ultimate destination? Will you be reading Church Sweet Home? Do you have questions for Monica Lee?
My latest book is available on Amazon & AmazonKindle:
Church Sweet Home: A Renovation to Warm the SoulSubscribe to my author blog at http://mindfulmonica.wordpress.com/ for the latest
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”– Anne Frank
A friend of mine recently reminded me of how Anne Frank was stuck in a 450 square foot area with 7 other people for 2yrs and 35 days. And yet she wrote:
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
In my story, I talked about what it was like to lose everything. Some of my biggest lessons came from that. Feeling empty naked and vulnerable, I found comfort in the only thing that remained a constant in my life, and that was my friendship with God. Sometimes I think we are thrust into desperate situations so that we can find our way back to our connecting source. When we reconnect with that mystical Divinity that cannot be explained by science, we become whole in a way that gets us through the worst of things.
During these difficult times, we sometimes find strength in watching or reading about stories of survival. I’ve seen the movie of Anne Frank a few times, but I don’t think I ever actually read the book. I was thinking of downloading it for free on my Kindle eBook. I have Kindle Unlimited, which allows me to download as many books as I can read in a month for only $9.99. That’s less then you usually pay for one book. It’s well worth it if you’re an avid reader. But even if you’re not, they usually offer it for free the first month. I believe they are offering it free for two months right now, so you might want to check it out. If you’re not interested in any commitments like that I’ve lowered the price on my eBook The Promise from $7.00 to $3.99. And you don’t have to have a Kindle to read it. You can download the Kindle app on your phone, iPad, or your computer. The app is free.
I am honored by the words of Joe C., who wrote at the end of his beautiful review on Amazon: “Not since the Diary of Anne Frank was I so totally moved by an author’s personal story.