6000 homes and businesses have been destroyed by fire in California. Yet uncounted homes and businesses have been flattened by Hurricane Michael. Homes, hearts and lives torn apart.
My husband deals with the aftermath of damage to homes. For the past fifteen years he has owned a fire and water restoration company. For the past month he has spent his time in North Carolina dealing with hurricane damage from Hurricane Florence and he is currently in Florida dealing with the results of Hurricane Michael.
His absence from our home makes me more aware of how important “home” is and what truly makes a home. Although restoration is a part of my life and I have tried to help develop plans to assist our customers when we first meet them and they are reeling from their loss, I still can’t imagine the feelings of these people who have lost so much.
As we all look forward to the holidays, many people’s lives will be very different this year. The place they called home may no longer exist. The totes of Christmas decorations are no longer there to pull out of the attic. The homes that were the foundation of their festivities have been blown away or now are ashes.
My family members are hard core traditionalists. We have a very difficult time varying from our established holiday traditions. This year due to my husband’s job, the holidays look like they may be very untraditional. The joy of the season seems less connected to my home and my heart feels far away in Florida and so I’ve been thinking about what makes a home and what makes the holidays.
The Grinch hated Christmas and he hated the Whos down in Whoville. He was sure if he stole every last item that had to do with Christmas, that he would ruin Christmas. We all know that he was wrong. The Whos celebrated even though they had nothing of their traditional trappings. It’s a great story but I never wanted to test it.
I like my stuff. I have plenty of it. I hate to admit to you the number of Christmas totes up in my shed attic. Each year we put up 7 or 8 trees. For our main tree, we brave the Indiana winter and hike with frozen toes to cut down that one magical tree. My home is transformed and my family counts on the transformation.
What will be the source of my Christmas joy? Will it come from my traditions, decorated house and snowy weather or will it be where my heart is? Home is where the heart is, is an often said phrase that I haven’t digested like I should. I love my home but without those I love, it’s not all that special anymore.
After terrible tragedies such as tornados, you hear people say again and again, “We lost everything, but thank God we are all OK and still have each other.”
I am challenged this holiday season to focus less on the things I love about the holiday here at my home and more on where my heart is, with those I love, no matter where that may be.
The holidays will come. The Grinch, hurricanes and fires will not stop it. However those of us not facing tremendous tragedy can make the choice to focus not so much on our home but to let our home be where our heart is.
If you’d like to help the victims of California’s wildfires or Hurricane Michael contact and donate to: