Where is Home for you?

By Jake Rath

When someone asks, “Where is home for you?” I often have a hard time answering. I usually start by saying, “Well, I’m from New York but I live and work in Connecticut.” But even that feels incomplete, something is still missing. Not because there’s another place I’d like to include but because the whole concept of home being singular is inadequate to me. There are many places that make me feel at home, whether that is the top of a wind-whipped mountain or the face of a coarse granite rock wall. These are all home. At times, I’ve felt more foreign in my hometown than I have in many of these places. Not because it isn’t familiar, but because home, for me, is more about a connection and feeling rather than a physical location in time. In fact, there is a certain comfort that sometimes goes along with an unfamiliar place.

I have found that, for me, the places my spirit has felt most at home has been out in the natural realm. While these places change from time to time, the feelings they bring always remain. When I climb a mountain, I know that thousands of years from now, other people will still be climbing this mountain. It is something I share with people in the present, past and future. The mountains transcend the time we experience on earth in a lifetime, and that is part of the reason I feel connected and enamored by their beauty.

The same goes for creating systemic positive change in the world. Vying to be an agent of change will have an impact on future generations to come. I am lucky enough to have the pleasure of fulfilling part of my mission in life through my daily work at the Foundation. This past December we visited the Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) – Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. This nonprofit has constructed a holistic community built for the chronically homeless. It is their belief that the primary cause of chronic homelessness stems from a catastrophic loss of family. MLF provides that sense of community, family and much more for their residents. In addition to my slight obsession with tiny homes, I was so impressed with how every aspect of their residents’ lives have been well thought out to provide them with what they have been missing for so long. While they can’t heal all wounds, MLF provides a safe space for their residents to grow in life together, with the support, care, affection and love that are such vital parts of family life. The connections and feelings they once had can resurface anew. They get part of their life back and focus on the things that make them feel whole again.

We are all people of the cosmos, made up of the same matter, broken down, recycled, reused and reassembled for your viewing pleasure. Nothing physical is ever actually destroyed or created, it is only decomposed and regenerated. In many cases, this perspective is lost when thinking about life on this planet. When looking at life through this paradigm our physical possessions become a lot more meaningless. It is not the things you gather that give you joy in life, but the experiences. Why? Because there is nothing intrinsic to the human soul that material possessions can bring about. In the same way, it is not merely the homes that MLF is providing that bring joy to their residents, it is everything else. The home is just a means of satisfying the basic needs of the people living there. The true joy is the celebration of love and life that we all share together. This is the intangible that was missing from the residents’ lives. Each day you live is a gift, so go out and share that with the people that need it most.