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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A House or a Home?

Is there a difference? I think so. To me a home is where families live. It is where you raise your children, perhaps even your grandchildren. It is the place your sons will bring their wives and own children to come home to for the holidays. It is the place where memories are made. A home is something you will fight for like crazy to keep. It means something to you. It represents your hard work, your family, your lives.

A house on the other hand is just a structure. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure it can provide shelter from the elements, it can even provide residence for a family. But a house is different from a home. A house may be one of many you live in during your life time. A house is someplace you usually aren't at long enough to create those loving memories that are made in a home. A house is someplace that while you may like it well enough, you aren't willing to fight for it like you are a home. When hard times hit, a house may not be worth sticking around and fighting for if you feel you may not come out ahead in the end, whereas with a home it doesn't matter the financial gain, or loss as the case may be, what you are fighting for are the memories, the love, the sense of belonging.

Me, I live in a home. My home is small, quite humble by most peoples standards. In all honesty it barely fits all six of us (soon to be seven!) comfortably. It is old. It certainly isn't very fancy by any means. Actually it's a little outdated. When we first moved it, the floor was avocado green linoleum(no, I am not joking, not just the kitchen floor, the WHOLE downstairs!) The kitchen appliances and counter tops were also avocado green(still are for that matter!). The staircase and upstairs carpeting was burnt orange. The best part was the powder blue walls! The house was far from pretty, but something about it felt like "home" the first time we walked through the doors!

Maybe it was the cute little wood burning cook stove in the nook of the kitchen. Perhaps it is the big brick fireplace with the indoor metal chimney. It could be the cozy cabin feeling(the original house plan was actually a "ski chalet") It could be the fact that it sits on top of a hill overlooking the small rural town it resides in. It may be the smells of the woods, the trees and fresh country air. I am not sure what it is exactly, but this is without a doubt a "home", my home!

The house is barely worth what we owe on it anymore. Actually I am pretty sure at this point we owe far more than what we could possibly sell it for. But that doesn't matter to me. You can't put a price on the memories that have been made here. There is no price for the love that lays between these four walls. Because of that we do what we have to in order to keep this home of ours. When times are tough, we get tougher and do what needs to be done to save our home.

Meanwhile I see people I know "letting their houses go." Why I wonder? But the answer really isn't too hard to find. They live in a house. To them their house is nothing more than another piece of property. There is no emotional attachment. It may be one of dozens of houses they've owned in their lifetime. Their reasoning is that "it's not worth what we owe" so they are opting to just walk away.

It's not really for me to judge whether they are right or wrong in what they are doing, but it does make me wonder...doesn't anybody long for a home anymore? It seems to me as I watch others buy and sale and come and go that houses are little more than a business venture these days. If you're lucky or do good in business you make some money and move on to the next one. If you're unlucky you lose a little and move on.

Actually, we were warned by many a well meaning friend that we would never make any money on this place and we shouldn't buy. We weren't and still aren't concerned about whether or not we will make a buck or two. What we were longing for was a home to raise our children in and to eventually retire in. A place the kids couldn't wait to bring their own families back to each year for a visit. And that is exactly what we got! Already I hear them often make plans of the future that involve this home! One of my children even recently asked if he could buy this place from us when he grows up! Now that's a home!

So what do you live in? Do you live in a house....or a home? Which would you like to live in?


William Cooney said...

Your insightful musings about the differences between a house and a home have eloquently elaborated on the timeless adage, "Home is where the heart is."

Many of us will certainly benefit from this propitious reminder.

Red said...

I live in a home, but there is a possibility of us losing our house.

To them it is just an edifice, but to me and my family, it is where we live and love. You would think these banks ans mortgage companies would do everything in their power to assist folks in keeping their homes.

It becomes a win win for everyone.

Great post!