At Home

At Home_0007

In my teenage years, on arriving back at our house after school, the first thing I did was to sit down with my Mum and our neighbour Mrs Iris Powell. It was our daily ritual. Often I would go and call for Powelly, and then we would sit around the kitchen table, drinking tea, eating my favourite chocolate digestive biscuits and sharing our stories of the day. My mum in particular is great at relating a tale and I listened entranced. I was relaxed, comfortable and at home.

What makes a place home? Home is embedded deep within our psyche. We might consider home to be as intimate as the dwelling we reside in, or as large as the nation to which we belong. Think of the many conflicts that occur around the issue of homeland. Reflect on what is happening in Crimea at the moment. In Psalm 137, consider the angry lament of God’s people when in exile in Babylon: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?”.

Home can be in a “foreign” land when our heart is there. Consider Ruth who left her own country to be with her mother-in-law Naomi. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God”. (Ruth 1:16)

Home is part of our identity. Reflect on the forthcoming referendum in Scotland on independence. .  At its best home is a haven, a shelter from harm. It is a place where we can be ourselves, where we are accepted and belong.

“All that matters is to be at one with the living God

To be a creature in the house of the God of life.


Like a cat asleep on a chair

At peace, in peace

And at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,

At home, at home in the house of the living

Sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.”

(Pax by D.H.Lawrence)

I enjoy watching our cat Willow as he settles down to wash. He appears to take no notice of me as he vigorously tussles with his fur, his eyes closed. Yet when I get up to go, one green eye half opens, the tips of his black ears prick forward, as if he is saying: “Where are you going mate, I haven’t finished yet, don’t you want to admire and adore me some more? “

We all appreciate focused attention. It gives us a sense of well-being. Do we consider the focused attention we receive from our Heavenly Creator?

“Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
  You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
  You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
  Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
  You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
  Your knowledge of me is too deep;

  It is beyond my understanding.”            

    Psalm 139:1-6

 As I watch Willow washing, I examine him. I notice the scar over his right eye where an abscess has healed. I look at his tail as it flicks with gentle contentment, now healed after he broke it last year, somehow we know not how. He is our calamity cat, often getting into scrapes. He is not a perfect cat and yet he is perfect to me.

Willow, startled by having his photograph taken

Music: All of Me by John Legend

Think of this song as a love song from God to you and from you to God. I particularly liked the lines:

“I love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections.”

I think these lines capture the way God loves each one of us.


What elements do you need to feel relaxed and at home in this world? Reflecting on this, I called to mind a poem by AA Milne called “the wrong house


 I went into a house, and it wasn’t a house,

it has big steps and a great big hall;

But it hasn’t got a garden,
A garden,
A garden,
It isn’t like a house at all.

I went into a house, and it wasn’t a house,
It has a big garden and great high wall;
But it hasn’t got a may-tree,
A may-tree,
A may-tree,
It isn’t like a house at all.

I went into a house, and it wasn’t a house –
Slow white petals from the may-tree fall;
But it hasn’t got a blackbird,
A blackbird,
A blackbird,
It isn’t like a house at all.

I went into a house, and I thought it was a house,
I could hear from the may-tree the blackbird call…
But nobody listened to it,
Liked it,
Nobody wanted it at all. 

Are we able to take the time to pause, take time out from our usual bustle, stay awhile and listen? Are we able to attend to the here and now of our lives? We will be rewarded by hearing the blackbird singing in our hearts and making our house its home?



 May you listen to your longing to be free,

May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul;

May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart that something good is going to happen to you;

May you find a harmony between your soul and your life;

May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place;

May you know the eternal longing that is at the heart of time;

May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within;

May you never place the walls between the light and yourself;

May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you and embrace you in belonging.

 John O’Donohue

From: Eternal echoes: Exploring the Hunger to Belong.


Stoodley Farm, Todmorden

I Thank Thee, God, that I have lived

In this great world and known its many joys;

The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay

The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay

And cooling breezes in the secret dusk,

The flaming sunsets at the close of day,

Hills, and the lonely, heather-covered moors,

At Home_0004

Music at night, and moonlight on the sea

The beat of waves upon the rocky shore

And wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy:

At Home_0002

The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,

The love of kin and fellowship of friends,

And all that makes life dear and beautiful.

(Elizabeth Craven)


About Gentle Breeze

Julia is married to Kevin. They live together in Todmorden with their black and white cat Willow. Todmorden is a small rural town nestling among the Pennine hills in the Upper Calder Valley, on the border of West Yorkshire and Lancashire. Julia is a mixture of contradictions. She happily shares her email address with her husband; yet when she married she kept her own surname.
This entry was posted in Lent, Reflections, Spirituality, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to At Home

  1. Fr Gawain says:

    A very sweet reflection with really wonderful quotes and links. Thank you!

  2. I can’t even imagine living in a place that beautiful. Come to Texas where the drought has been going on for 10 years and see what DRY really is!

    • Yes, It is beautiful here. It can be easy to forget when you are being pelted with rain. Even then, plants and bushes can look more vibrant. Thank you for reminding me. Julia

    • Hi, I want to clarify something as i don’t want to mislead you. Not all the photographs are of Todmorden (Tod) where I was born and where I currently live. I also chose a couple of postcards of places I have visited to go with the words of the poem. The sunset over water is in Scotland and is the sunset over Loch Etive and Connel Bridge, Argyll; the postcard reflecting sunlight on water is also in Scotland and is Sound of Pladda, Isle of Arran.The rest are of Todmorden. I would be interested in seeing pictures of Texas. I imagine wide open spaces.Thanks again for visiting my Blog. Julia

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