In the past few weeks, we’ve been packing and unpacking half-way across the world. This was our second vacation back home; but there’s the revelation, where is “home”? Between grandparents’ sleepovers, the summer home and our actual marital flat, it seems feelings of home are much deeper than a set of property of four walls.
It is far more than where you put head on a pillow, rather much how you sense it as a sanctuary and a shelter. For someone who isn’t new to travel, I find myself navigating these emotions more as a parent; as to how Hamza seeks to plant his roots. With the blessing of family whom I’m missing already, it is hard to tell if I’ll ever stop being homesick. In a life where the only constant is change, it is not merely the nostalgia of my old childhood home, but an indefinite string of attachments to people and places that have shaped who I am today. So when it comes to where the heart it is, home is spread across distance and time.
From a spiritual perspective, there is nothing more touching than Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) hadith: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.” (Sahih Bukhari). This does not mean that within the prophet’s life he hadn’t felt homesick for leaving Mecca, but for the future his home had then become Medina, his city, where he lived and chose to return even after Fateh Mecca. It was never a destination that held him back PBUH, it was a purpose that drove him forwards. And to this day his grave is visited and greeted in the holy city that had become the believers’ sanctuary.
And since it had been a blissfully busy month, we had lost our luggage at some airport along the way. Though then I didn’t know they’d be back and it was only a delay, I found myself hoping and praying for my stuff to be back not because of their compensable worth, but for their sentimental and time value. I dreaded the prospect that I might have to go out shopping forcefully to replace that lost wardrobe as I had already been content with what I had. Perhaps it was only at the sight of losing these things that I had really become thankful for ever having them. These were only material ‘things’, yet they opened my eyes to true gratitude to the Most Generous.
Although I may have not indefinitely answered my questions as to where would Hamza call home, it seems roots are one of two gifts we should give our son, and the other is wings. Happiness is indeed a journey, best suited for those who travel light.