We’d like to put you in a home.

When I was a little girl, I always thought I would live near Chicago.

It had never, in fact, occurred to me that any one of us might leave.

But then, for me, there was California and then Missouri – Georgia and now Wisconsin.

Finding a home and making a home has become very important to me.

It might be also for many people.

My friend’s nine-year old daughter continued to look at houses on zillow.com, for hours at a time– for three months after they had already moved.

Was she still looking for a place to belong?

A hundred years ago, in my brief time working in advertising, one client, Coldwell Banker, had asked for a new campaign. And, as most people know, the process of looking for a place to live can sometimes be crazy-making.

I envisioned that this company would be the competent and comforting, padded-wall professionals to help when most needed.

Thus my slogan:

“We’d like to put you in a home”.

When we moved here, six weeks before the move, I was on the phone with a guy here, 1000 miles away, when he asked me:

“well, have you decided where you are all going to live?”

We had a job, two dogs and three children – no place to live.

I started to cry. Crazy-making, indeed.

I realize now that I have spent almost fifteen years painting pictures of houses.

What is it about having a place and that we call home?

My ancestors wandered in the desert for forty years – looking for a home. We were indeed refugees, looking for a place where felt we belonged.

Look at all the people in the world now: refugees!

Driven from their homes, by day and by night – by abuse and violence and war and political and religious difference and economic depletion and. and, and, and – the reasons are endless.

But so many people need homes. So many people are looking for homes.

So many people are looking for the place in the world where they feel at home.

A place where they feel safe.

What might make a nine-year old girl still search online, over and over – for a home – three months after she had one?

It is in our souls, I believe, to want to know where we belong.

We want to know our direction. We want to know where to hang our hats.

Even the most adventurous of us needs a place to return to…four walls – padded or not.

Are we as trees? Without the roots to stabilize, in our growth we will topple?

Look at the Bedouin communities – as well as the other indigenous hunting and gathering communities which still exist in our world.

They don’t seem to be toppling.

Not at all.

To put them into ‘homes’ would be to confine them. They would feel ‘displaced’ in a conventional ‘western-type’ society version of home. For them, the larger land is their home. Their families are home. Their tribes are their peeps.

These traditionally-transient communities thrive on openness and flexibility and the land.

And they always have.

But we all need to have a place where we feel we belong.

A place with open air – or tent walls, or stone walls or plaster walls…

Or padded ones.

But for sure you should be in a home.

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