“Heart is where home is” Nancy Horseman
When you look at the first image what do you see? What does it make you think about? This picture shows a piece called ‘Stay’ which I made several years ago about the refugee situation. The little houses each have one of the (often random) categories that allow unquestionable ‘leave to stay’ in the UK. The piece was made for an exhibition based on the Nativity. Each artist was given a different element of the story, and mine was the stable. The title of the piece is a play on the idea of stability and home, questioning our immigration laws and our ideas of what home is. I also had in mind the Scottish word used when asking where you live: as in ‘where do you stay?’
The second image uses the same theme of home. This was made with an interfaith group of women in Bradford, some of whom were refugees, thinking about their role in making peace in their communities. The question was “what helps you sleep at night?” and each little house shape has a pillow inside it. The women embroidered different things that make for their own personal peace, peace in their communities and the world.
In our house we invite our guests to write a message on our entrance hall wall, rather like a guest book. One visitor turned the well-known expression on its head and wrote ‘heart is where home is’. Maybe there is something to consider in this.
We are all being asked to stay at home at the moment, to stay safe. We have been collectively grounded as a nation and maybe we could take this opportunity to think about what that might mean. ‘Being grounded’ may be a punishment, but it can also, in the sense of ‘being grounded’ be a way of being deeply connected to ourselves and our communities. We are having to live where we live, which many of us usually don’t. We commute to other places to work, we drive out to the country for a weekend walk, we jump on a train to go to a concert or meet friends.
Large parts of our population live far apart, and I’m no exception. My family is as wide flung as Falmouth to the Isle of Arran. Obviously, we can’t change such facts, but it’s worth thinking about how connected we are with where we actually live and who we really are. At the beginning of lockdown my computer ironically got a virus. I was off Facebook, Instagram and email for over a week. To start with I found this utterly isolating and disheartening. But then I found that I was living more here, within myself, rather than ‘down the rabbit hole’ of the internet.
Augustine said “if we are a long way away from ourselves, how can we come near to God? To return is to find our true home, to find our paradise on earth….we find God who has made (their) home within us.” Whether you have faith or not, the idea of coming home to yourself is worth meditating on. Perhaps only then can we be a home for others, a space where all can find a safe and peaceful place to be. And as we start opening up again as a nation, lets think about how we welcome each other.
Look at the pictures and think about these questions:
- What is home to you?
- Do you feel at home in the current situation?
- How can you be more grounded?
- Who might you welcome into your safe space?
You will need a piece of paper, pencil or biro.
- Draw a house shape on your paper, allowing space inside and outside of it.
- Think about what you miss away from home and what you have come to appreciate at home.
- Draw the home treasures inside your house shape and the missing treasure outside or find objects to represent these and place them in the appropriate places on your paper.
- This might be a good time to think about how the divine is at home in you.