Seems like we are often bombarded by not so subtle suggestion on how to make our house a home. Especially around the holidays. The most vocal and tenacious encouragements come from Interior Home decorators.
But contrary to what you may think, this is not a blog about decorating your house. No, it’s my spiritual search. As you probably all know by now, I was born in a town at the feet of the Small Dolomites. Back then my grandparent’s home didn’t have heat. Only a large fireplace in the main room on the first floor and the wood stove in the kitchen. And there were winter mornings when I would wake up to find ice on the window pane. Ice on the inside of the window. Yes, it was that cold.
At night we would use bed warmers to make slipping into the icy sheets bearable. I’m not talking about electric blankets or heating pads. Nope, my grandparents and everyone in town would slide a wooden thing built almost like a small boat between the sheets to house a copper or ceramic pot filled with embers, and wait. This could not be a last minute operation, each bed took a long time to warm up and the stove/fireplace only produced so many embers, so you know that winter evenings were busy times for our parents and grandparents alike.
I thought about that the other morning, huddled up in my cozy bed, in the warm bedroom of my comfortable home. How lucky are we? With the click of a finger we control the temperature of the whole place. Yet the question lingered, is it a house or a home?
When I look back I always think of it as my grandparent’s home. Sure I call it the house my grandfather built, but it was our home. No interior decorator was ever hired. No colorful pillows or fancy lamps were ever added. The few picture hanging on the walls were photos (black and white) of us kids, with the exception of one large print over my grandparents’ bed. My grandmother told me it was a scene from The Wedding Feast of Cana. And I also remember a smaller framed print of a guardian angel watching over a little boy and a girl crossing a stony bridge over raging waters. Than one hung in the room where my brother and I slept.
What my grandparents’ house had that decorators forget to mention was a lot of love.
Enough to fill each room and touch all the beating hearts living in the home my grandfather built.