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  • Writer's pictureMaj-Britt Johnson

Home as a Mirror of Self

Recently I was asked to deliver a "message" at an online ZOOM church service. It's happening this Sunday. I haven't written a word yet. I'm procrastinating by writing this blog instead. The title of the message is: "Home as a mirror of self." I was asked to suggest music videos for the liturgy so I googled "songs about houses and homes." I also asked my nieces and nephews for suggestions. Thus, I've been happily listening to tunes every evening for a week, having a good time, getting sentimental, dancing in my living room, and reminiscing about the many, many, many homes in which I grew a self, added on to my self, inventoried my self, renovated my self, expanded my self, and of late, began to downsize my self (well, I'm trying).

Here are a few of those tunes. If you are contemplating a move, or maybe doing a deep clean while quarantining, you might find them fun to listen to (And I'd love to hear your suggestions for more). Google any one of them and you'll come up with the links to videos and lyrics.

- "The House That Built Me", by Miranda Lambert. If I need a good cry, all I have to do is turn this one on. Weren't we all built by our earliest surroundings? And then we launched out into the world, and sometimes the foundation cracked a long the way, but ultimately we build a bigger, stronger self with those pieces.

- "Home" by Phillip Phillips. Out on the road other selves come along, sometimes a special self. "Hold on, to me as we go, as we roll down this unfamiliar road... Just know you're not alone, Cause I'm going to make this place your home." It's hospitality that makes a house a home; whether I'm being hospitable to my partner or a guest. The house of Self can feel a tad bit claustrophobic, if not leavened with otherness.

- "Our House," by Madness. I'm writing this the morning after thousands of thugs stormed our capitol and broke into The Nation's House. Madness is in the air today. But unlike yesterday's monstrous mob, Madness used their best selves to make this video.

- "Home," by Dan Croll. And then there's the journey back to our original homes. "When you're down and you're alone, it's the train that brings you home, and your mother, brother, sister, father, waitin' at the door. It's so sweet, sweet. Makes me glad I'm only a stone's throw away. Makes me sad that others can't have it the same way. Oh, home, home."

In this time of COVID I've actually gotten closer to my family. Out of our geographically scattered lives we've pieced together a quilt of togetherness unlike any arrangement of selves we've gathered together before. Four generations. Simply by availing ourselves of those brightly lit little"Hollywood Squares" we call ZOOM. Every Saturday, five or six or ten of us are waiting to be let in that door by our host, and it's sweet. And it hasn't happened without some honest self-appraisal, on everyone's part. And I am grateful.

I know that scenario is not happening for every family, and if that's so for you, I hope you're finding your family of choice in a room made up of other little quilt squares. It's possible to have many homes. Much as I love my family, I need, and love, my several other families too.

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