What makes a home? A rug? The placement of furniture? Or the people that occupy it?

As I’ve written about before, we’ve moved nine times in the past seven years.

That’s a lot of moving.

To be honest, it’s getting old. However, every time we move, we get the opportunity to paint a new living space with our creativity. Where should we put the couch? What pictures do you want on the walls? Should we buy a new lamp for that corner? What about a rug? We should probably get a rug…

Those conversations used to be fun. But over time, they’ve become less and less fun. For me anyway. My wife LOVES those conversations. I do my best to pitch in my ideas but I usually just succumb to saying, “Yeah honey, that sounds great.”

Weirdly enough, though, every dwelling and city we’ve lived in have always felt like home. And the more I’ve reflected on that, the more I’ve wondered, “Why?”

I don’t know about you, but when I’m in new environments, I usually don’t feel settled. I usually feel a mix of anxiety, nervousness, curiosity, and suspicion. As I try to get my bearings around me, I’m always darting my eyes from one place to the next, trying to create a mental map of my surroundings.

This goes for new cities, new restaurants, and new homes. Including my own.

So why is it that no matter where I’ve lived, I’m able to settle in and be “home?”

Or maybe the better question is, “What makes a home?”

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Home is where the heart is.” And although that’s kind of a hokey phrase, it’s absolutely true!

As a married man, no matter where I live, I always have my wife with me. And now as a father, I also have my kids with me. And as long as I have my family, it can feel like home. Even in the midst of doubt and uncertainty, it can feel like home.

Home is more than just the four walls you occupy. It’s more than your living room accouterments. It’s more than the address your mail comes to.

Home is the place where your heart can settle. Home is the place you come into from wandering and wondering. Home is where you can rest and have peace.

And for me, my home is my family. So no matter what structure we live in, as long as I have my family…I’m home.

As long as I can walk through the door and kiss my wife and embrace my children, I’m home.

Home is not about the abundance or apparent lack of material things. Home is about the presence of those you love, and that love you back.

So whether a 2-story home in Houston or a small apartment in Portland, I can be home.