There are events in your life that only when you look back on do you realise the effect they’ve had on your perception of the world. Events like these aren’t always the considerably life changing ones, but the ones that have made you stop and think or have brought a little more light through the shutters of your everyday life. These experiences may not be immediately obvious or substantially life changing, but what they will provide is a glimpse into the real world that lies beyond the material.
So when walking through Mutley Plain in the early hours of a Saturday morning I did not expect that what I was about to experience would be remembered for more than just being extremely out of the ordinary, but that it would provide a basis for me to question how I view the concept of home within the world. My friends, who happen to just be of the most outgoing nature, and I passed a rather aged ‘homeless’ man sat alone on the doorstep of a tanning studio; cross legged and clutching a small bottle of water with a picture of Buzz Light-year on it. It was clear by the way he watched those who ambled passed him, that all he wanted was someone to stop and speak to him, so he could feel the warmth of human interaction. So we decided he looked harmless enough that we could talk to him without fear; just to make both his and our night that little bit more interesting. Although, in the least offensive way, we could not comprehend much of what he said. We understood when he told us of how he visited church every day, both in the morning and the evening, revealing that that was where he found home; he found sanctuary in religion and a family within the church community. Home to him was not bricks and mortar, but the people that offered him kindness and a purpose to continue living. Later that morning we passed him again, this time he was not alone but sat on a bench outside Mutley Plain’s Baptist church with another ‘homeless’ man. They seemed deep in conversation so we did not disturb him a second time still it occurred to me that just as the church was his home, so was Mutley Plain itself and this other ‘homeless’ man was part of the community that he lived in, maybe even the closest thing to family he had.
This demonstrated to me that in life your purpose isn’t just to absorb the warmth and protection of others but to create it yourself, to share it with the ones you care about so they can feel this safety too. Home is philosophy, a metaphysical energy, a world where we are not selfish and greedy and judgmental but are true to ourselves and those around us. Yet from what I see when I look out the window I see no warmth of connection, all I see is that the earth is not our home; we merely inhabit it.