If you’ve ever been away from home for any period of time, even if you’ve been on vacation, I can imagine that after a few days you become homesick. I know I sure do, Dorothy and I have always been on the same page, there is no place like home. There have been countless movies, books, plays, stories told all describing this same truth, “home is where the heart is”. It would seem that going home usually costs us nothing, on the contrary, it’s leaving home that usually ends up taking a toll on our physical and emotional pockets
But for some of us, this isn’t the case and the cost of coming home is anything but free.
Especially not when home is a cold, overcrowded, polluted, and overpriced urban city. Who could love a home like that anyway? Why pay the price of coming home to that when we could easily make home anywhere else, take Atlanta, Georgia for example where the cost of home is $1300 a month, a nice home at that, not a small one bedroom with an iffy water pipe and no heat. So the question becomes what is home? Is home really the apartment or house we live in or is it something more?
Some good friends recently moved from their spacious, sunny two bedroom in Downtown Atlanta, leaving all the southern comfort of stay at home moms, homeschooled kids and an abundance of parking to come to a much smaller, much pricier 2 bedroom with a toddler, crowded trains, very few stay at home moms, so even less homeschooled children in the capital of the world, New York City.
Why? For what?
The answer is simple and complex all at once.
It must be then that Home is so much more than the house we live in.
Home is the calling that always brings us back. Home runs in our blood.
For my two friends making the journey back home cost everything.
If you’ve raised kids in this city you know how true that is, the truth is most of the people who call this city home are desperately looking to find another place to give that name to. Anywhere but here. Cleaner air, more space, noise free, better schools. You can add more as you see fit.
But these things only hold true if your definition of home is just an address.
Because if not, if home is the place you feel most yourself, the place you feel most alive, the place that gives your soul direction, purpose and vision…there’s no price you wouldn’t pay.
For Alex and his wife Eli nothing has been more clear. In a time where, natives are told they can no longer pay what it costs to stay in their homes, where foreigners have come to place flags on already owned land and said "no we will not share" , coming home is accompanied with hefty sacrifices and deep commitments to something greater than ourselves. Sacrificing comfort in order to commit to the strength of a message. A message that compels us to look beyond the hardship of city living and be drawn into all of its beautiful depth. A message that tells us it is okay not to have a backyard, ample closet space or even cheap rent, not because we are okay with mediocrity but because there is something about this home that has a way of reminding us that We belong and so do you. This reality is so deeply engrained in Alex and his family that they've recently launched the brand campaign, We Belong Here, in order to encourage and inspire the voices that can often go unheard.
In this city with overpopulated streets where brokenness is evident it can be hard to feel like we are a part of anything. But sometimes seeing broken things is exactly what we need to point us in the direction of one who can fix them.