Everybody wants a home, a place to be that is theirs, and theirs to share. When we live and work outside our own culture, home becomes even more important to us. We seem to lose so much of our identity as we strive to acculturate our lives. We want our homes to have a familiar feel that comforts our family members, yet we want our homes to reflect our host culture as well. How much should your home reflect your heritage, and how much should it reflect your adopted culture? Do you worry that your new friends may be offended by your home or your style of hospitality? These are common questions for PWs.
Mary Beth Lagerborg, Media Director for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), has written a very helpful book: Dwelling- Living Fully in the Space You Call Home. Thanks to Dawn Wilson for sending me a copy of the book. Dawn says that the book really affirmed her.She says it helped her to feel it was OK to be an American and to make her home ‘American,’ even though she serves in England. As Mary Beth wrote, “. . the beauty of the home where we feel welcome . . . conveys a thoughtfulness . . . comfort and a sense of (our) personality and character . . . . Beauty in our homes reflects our creative best. . . . it’s for our families, not just for our guests.” Here’s a portion of her Introduction to whet your appetite for more:
“We all want a home base where we are accepted and rejuvenated. Where we can lick our wounds, create without censure, give and receive love, have fun, and rest. Where we can be cared for when we’re sick and age with grace. Where we can eat and drink and sometimes be merry. Where we can be our best and be our worst but always be moved toward our full potential. We all crave this sort of home.
“Each of us brings with this desire the measuring stick of our experience in our own home of origin. For better or for worse, that is where our stories began. There we were shaped, wounded, loved well or not well; we developed our tastes, our preferences, and our prejudices. We remember favorite meals and holidays and family gatherings, or maybe we remember loneliness or sarcasm or sandwiches alone in front of the TV.
“If we grew up in a healthy home, the memories are rich and sustaining. And since we know what is possible in a home, we long to create it in the new context that is home for us—whether that is an apartment, or someone’s basement, or our dream-home-come-true.
“The bottom line is that the place that was home to us, and the relationships that were shaped there, mattered. They mattered in our past, and now they matter in our present and our future. You recognize this, and you care about creating a healthy home.
“Just as your own home mattered for you, your efforts at creating home will make a difference. Those differences will be largely immeasurable and intangible, and yet at times you will see, as if a curtain has been opened, positive influences of home that have your fingerprints all over them. The satisfaction you’ll know is gentle and deep.
“Your home, wherever it is now or later will be, is alive with possibilities to provide wholeness and health—and fun! This book will help you decide what you most value in your home. You will be able to spot what’s missing and address those things.”
The second part of Mary Beth’s book focuses on how we can extend the shelter of home into a larger sphere.
Mary Beth ends her book by reminding us that this is not our last and best home. Heaven has many mysteries and wonders for us. She says, “Until we reach the Father’s big house, we have the rewarding and ever-changing adventure of creating a place for our souls to call home.”
Mary Beth has made a very special offer to our Peter’s Wife members. If you would like a copy of Dwelling, you can order it from Mary Beth Lagerborg for $6.00 US plus postage and packing.
So whether you are living in a room or a house, sharing space with others or isolated, you can make it home. I suspect that for many of us, our host culture homes are a creative mixture of both home and host culture. Some places will take a lot more creativity, and some will take more changes in attitude, but you can put your touch on it and make it comfortable for you and your family. Guests from your host culture will feel welcome there too.