"Home has also been an important theme in religion, philosophy, anthropology, politics, sociology, and psychology. Great religious leaders — Buddha, Christ, Saint Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, and their followers — left the comforts of a secure shelter and devoted their lives to alleviating the sufferings of their homeless brothers and sisters. Philosophers, especially existentialist philosophers, describe humanity as being thrown into existence. A sense of alienation from one's environment has motivated humans to pose those fundamental questions: Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Anthropologists have thrown into relief the significance of ritual and sacred space in defining the clan membership and cultural identity of various indigenous peoples throughout the world. The anthropologist Victor Turner, observing the ritual practices of people celebrating together, 'was primarily excited by group life itself, life as expressed in lived-through experiences of the participants. Here lay all of those contradictory features that gave humans the ability to laugh and cry together.'

"Leaders of nations have waged wars in the name of 'the homeland,' not always in defense of their nation, but in pursuit of conquest, often ruthlessly destroying the homelands of those whom they subjugate. Politicians and sociologists have wrestled with the problems of population upheaval and mass migration. Today many millions are homeless and in search of a new home. Studies have shown that the process of finding home in a new cultural landscape involves a painful and complex passage of time and is often trans-generational. As an archetypal theme, the hunger to belong embraces all aspects of life. You might have experienced home in positive or negative ways; inevitably it has formed and fashioned the fabric of your life.

The Soul's Longing to Belong

"Those who own their house can enjoy the dream of transforming it into a home. Home, however, cannot be reduced to the house we possess. Regardless of whether we have had a nourishing or challenging beginning in life, or whether we actually possess a house or not, most of us will inevitably face the challenge of homes, lost or gained. Some people will have difficulty letting go of the old one; others will celebrate the opportunity to make new homes their very own. Transitions are often difficult. They are the moments when all seems lost, empty, uncontained. We are not created to remain in a void, yet in those liminal moments, when our very being seems to be unhoused, fundamental questions arise concerning the meaning of home. As we move through the stages of life, at the end we face ultimate questions. Do we belong anywhere, to anyone? Is the graveyard our ultimate abode? Is our final destiny simply to live on in the memories of others? Do we have a home in another world beyond life on earth?"