What Makes a Home?

My husband and I recently purchased a condo in the Chicago neighborhood of Edgewater. Was this the worst possible time to attempt a home purchase due to the volatile housing market? Absolutely. Did we have any other choice? No.

Luckily, we were able to find a wonderful place at a reasonable rate. Once moved in, we found many unexpected projects that demanded our time, energy, and resources. While we found ways to memorialize and ritualize the move, the demands of life, the stresses of home projects, and the volatility of the economic realities of our time often distracted us from the overall blessings of first-time homeownership.

As a result, I found myself caught off guard during a blessing my parents offered when they visited from Omaha, Nebraska about a month after we moved. Borrowing the blessing from the 1946 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, my parents presented us with a fresh baguette from a local bakery, a container of salt, and a bottle of red wine. Reciting the words of blessing from the movie, my parents offered ‘bread’ so that our household would never know hunger, ‘salt’ so that our lives would always have flavor, and ‘wine’ so that joy would always be found in our home.

In this moment, I realized that our home is more than a physical space: it is a place from which love, family, community, and life can be nourished in our lives as a couple. Our home is a place from which we can find strength and grounding to go out into the world and enact that same love, community, and life.

For the first time, our new condo felt like a home from which our new lives could be formed. And all of this came from a little blessing of bread, salt, and wine, offered from the wisdom and love of parents.