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July 14, 2015
According to Hoole
Going Home
by Daryl Hoole

Many of us find home a place where we long to be, a place of comfort, a place of peace and safety, even a setting for joy. Whether it’s going home after a busy day, returning home at the conclusion of an honorable mission, or the transcendent hope of going back home to our Father in Heaven at the end of a good life, thoughts of going home can brighten our lives and warm our hearts.

I’ve had two relatively recent experiences that have made me particularly aware of the security and blessings associated with home.

On a trip to New Zealand with my husband, Hank, we observed with interest that it was a land where many people participate in extreme sports. On one occasion, after a daring bungee jump, we overheard the jumper exclaim, “That was the thrill of a lifetime!”

“Not for me,” I thought to myself. “My thrill will be arriving home safely after a 20,000-mile trip in the Southern Hemisphere.”

I love to travel, and visiting the beautiful countries of Australia and New Zealand was an absolute delight. But for me there’s no place like home. I subscribe to the words of Samuel Johnson, who said, “The ultimate result of all ambition is to be happy at home.”

The second experience occurred a few years ago, when our phone rang in the middle of the night with tragic news. Nancy, our youngest daughter, had been in a horrific automobile accident and had been taken by ambulance to a local shock-trauma hospital.

For the next thirty-five days as we sat by her bedside, first in the ICU as she fought for her life and then in a private room as she continued to make a slow, but valiant recovery from a near fatal internal injury, the goal was always going home. What a joyous homecoming it was when that day came.

Marketing specialists have long realized that including the word “home” on a label boosts sales. Hence we see lots of products such as “Old Home Bread,” “Home Pride Jam,” or “Home Style Apple Sauce.”

Musicians, too, understand the appeal of home. The winsome strains of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” never fail to tug at my heart. The topic of home has also been a favorite subject throughout the years for poets, writers, and philosophers.

One writer expressed it well by penning, “Home is not just where you hang your hat, it’s where you plant your heart.” (Michael O. Richardson).

Much of the sadness in the world comes as a result of people losing their homes. There are people who are homeless for physical reasons. Natural and man-made disasters throughout the history of the world have left countless people homeless.

Personal problems such as becoming ill or disabled, experiencing severe financial reverses or undergoing a foreclosure can cause people to lose their houses. We would wish for everyone that recovery is possible and that soon there would be another house for their home.

There is also an emotional homelessness because houses are not always homes. Even though the structure may be in place, qualities that make a house a home are missing to one extent or another. It is the people who are the home, and we would pray for these people that broken hearts can be mended and broken lives can be fixed.

Just as houses are not always homes, sometimes the blessings of home do not need a structure to be found. In other words, there are situations where it’s possible to have a home without a house to put it in. I remember feeling that way as a child when my father’s military assignments caused us to relocate frequently.

A house becomes a home when a person feels loved and understood there; when it is a place where family and friends are comfortable and happy; when good dinners are served and good times happen within its walls; when the family gathers; when it’s a place of fun and laughter; when it’s a secure, safe place; when there are warm, fuzzy blankets and soft pillows.

It’s where children are taught life skills and how to be self-reliant. It’s where there are cookies and milk after school. It’s where cleanliness and order can be found. It’s a place of patience, selflessness, and forgiveness.

It is where challenges are faced by coupling temporal endeavors with eternal perspectives. It’s where joy through gospel teaching and living prevails, and where love is strong enough to bind the family forever.

A home can be a personal temple. It is a place where people are nurtured toward eternal life. Yes, many of us do find home a place where we long to be, a place of comfort, a place of peace and safety.

Going home can brighten our lives and warm our hearts. Our eternal home is but an extension of our home on earth — a setting for lasting joy.

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