By Jo Mooy
The statistics say 244 million fled their homeland last year—and all were searching for something much bigger than a physical dwelling.
What’s a home? It’s a physical address with a number nailed on the front wall. It’s a roof over a structure that shelters occupants from the elements. For the poor, that might be a tent that many call home (more on that later). For the wealthy, it’s a mansion that proudly defines them and their place in society. But it’s much more than that. It’s a place. It’s a sanctuary. It’s a concept, and it’s an ideal. Wars have been fought over it. Fences have been built around it—either to lock someone in or lock something out. It’s where you go to celebrate holidays. It’s where you return to weather an emotional crisis. It’s what we call Home!
Celebrated poet Robert Frost said home is, “The place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” My mother often got a dreamy, far-away look in her eyes and her voice became reverent when she talked about “home.” It wasn’t the Florida place she lived in. Rather, it was her ancestral home in Antigua. It was an ideal embedded in her DNA covering centuries of family history and memories that surfaced whenever she thought about Antigua. She often suggested, “We should go home.” In her later life, when she wistfully suggested it, the implication was, My time’s running out.
For the last several months, stories about immigrant caravans swamped the news cycle. Syrian refugees, Muslim bans, Brexit exodus, and Palestinian repatriation were camouflaged by the “imminent scourge at the U.S. border.” It’s been especially hideous because The Wall has not been funded nor built to keep “them” out. One side begged asylum please. The other side said no, do it legally. Crushed between the rhetoric on both sides were mothers with infants and toddlers who left a “home” where women were raped, tortured, and shot. Despite the odds, they walked thousands of miles in hopes of finding a better one.
The world of the 21st century is no longer Robert Frost’s “place where, when you go there, they have to take you in.” One wonders if the words on the Statue of Liberty “send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me” will also erode away in the hostility and nationalism of this century? Will these tempest-tossed families be allowed in to the United States? I don’t know. What will happen to those who asked for asylum? I don’t know that either. And yet, all they want is a home and safety.
This I do know. Home, no matter if the roof is slate tile or a ripped plastic bag, is a place of shelter with a degree of safety. I saw a home in the slums of India. It was 30 feet away from a white-washed four-story mansion. Lights blazed every night in the mansion as servants moved about. Inside the slum-home lived a woman who, every morning, reinforced her leaking plastic with dried palm fronds. I gave that woman in the slum-home an orange throw pillow I no longer needed. It turned out to be her only possession with any value. She gave it a place of honor in the center of the dirt, under her plastic bag roof. When I walked past her home, I saw her sitting beside the cushion as though to protect it. An inch-high remnant of a candle burned nearby. That was Home to her. That image of her in her home stays with me five years later. She claimed a bit of dirt, hung strips of plastic over a few tree branches, and staked out her sanctuary.
When we walk in the door of our homes, kick off our shoes, and flop on the sofa, we’re in our sanctuary. Those on the move, running from war and oppression have no dirt, nor plastic to hang on a stick for an address. The statistics say 244 million fled their homeland last year—and all of them were searching for something much bigger than a physical dwelling. They were seeking the sanctuary of a home. Many will never find it again.
The entire world is witnessing awe-inspiring homelessness. It’s one of the greatest initiations humanity will experience. It’s an initiation whose implications will pass from generation to generation. Cultures, tribes, religions, and families are being left behind. Lives are being uprooted and tested in ways most will never comprehend or endure. Homeless, these individuals are stepping into the breach, not knowing where they’ll end up or who will allow them entry into what they hope will become, a new home.
The initiation continues! For deep inside the core of every human is a root that needs to be grounded. That root always finds its own home, that place where they have to take you in.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.