A House and a Home
A photo of the one of the original groups of Hope House boys taken in 2008.
If you’ve been following us for awhile you already know that the name Hope House is English shorthand for the registered name of the boys' children home we established in Mexico called Casa Hogar Una Esperanza en el Corazón. The literal translation into English is “House Home A Hope in the Heart”.
In Mexico, Hope House is not considered an orphanage. Officially Hope House is a House Home.
Casa, of course, is translated as house in English. The word hogar, however, can mean hearth and implies an image of a snug, warm, safe haven. It is the fire around which everyone in the house gathers, looking for warmth and safety. You use the word hogar when you want to refer to these deep feelings and not simply the building in which you live.
House... Home... they are similar and yet each holds unique characteristics. A house is a building where you live. It provides shelter: a place to sleep, eat, relax, work, etc. But a home invokes deeper emotion. A home is associated with a feeling of warmth. A home speaks of family, being loved, being part of something larger than yourself. A home conveys emotion that a house does not. You could say, a house offers physical protection while a home provides emotional protection. Both are necessary parts of life. We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings needing safety in all three areas.
Recently we came home after being out of town for a few days. When we walked into our house, I was caught off guard by a flood of emotions. That feeling of joy, safety and relief that flooded me by being "home", caught my attention. As my family prepares for an partial sabbatical stateside after 16 years of full-time missionary service, I was overwhelmed with emotions as I realized that I did not know when we would experience this feeling of safety and comfort again, the feeling of being home. Stateside, we will live in a house, but it will take a while before it will feel like our home.
All week I have been pondering and praying about this feeling, these emotions. Not only did this experience make me reflect on our family, but it also made me wonder about the boys living at Hope House.
For me, there is something special about "my home". But my home does not provoke the same feelings for you as it does me. I wonder if before coming to Hope House, the boys ever experienced the feeling of home. I wonder how long it takes for them to consider Hope House more home than house?
As you reflect on the difference between house and home we ask that you remember our family in your prayers as we prepare for a much needed sabbatical stateside and also that you would remember the Hope House boys as they adapt to Hope House as not only their house, but also their home.