Thursday, January 17, 2013

No Place Like Home (part 2)

So Dorothy returns home ("Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home!") and the Prodigal Son returns home ("Fire up the barbecue!"), but can someone who has never really had a home ever find a happy ending?

Years ago (not too long after Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star), I bought a dollhouse kit. I was working in an upscale toy store at the time and was fascinated by all the intricate miniatures that were available. We even sold individual clay roof tiles in 1/12 scale. The kit I bought was called "The Franklin" and retailed for $99. I saved up for it for two months, and even put some furniture on layaway.

When assembled, the dollhouse would be 31 inches long, 19 inches deep, and 34 inches high. Since I was living in a college dorm when I bought it, I made the decision not to open the box until I was home. This beauty was going to take a while to assemble, and then the fun would start as I added all the custom features not included in the kit. This was my dream home, and I was going to make it extra special. We are talking labor of love here, folks. Not something to be rushed. Definitely not something to be thrown together in haste and then moved from place to place. No, I would wait until I was settled in a permanent location and then I would build it.

But life didn't go the way I had planned that year, and I had to move twice. Each time, I carefully loaded the cardboard box (which weighed about 20 pounds) into my car and brought it with me, still unopened. One year turned into two years, and then five years, and then ten years, and still I was not living in a place I considered "home." The Franklin remained in its box, moving from closet to closet to attic to garage . . .  and then one day, after I'd been moving around for twenty years, I realized it was never going to happen. I was never going to be "home" no matter what house I lived in. As I loaded my possessions into a moving van for the dozenth time, I pulled that battered cardboard box down from the rafters of the garage and tossed it into a garbage can. Why? Simple. I'd lost hope.

Homelessness often leads to hopelessness.

(Next installment . . . the solution.)

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