T.S. Eliot wrote, “Home is where one starts from.” Home. Where do you feel most at home? When you think of home to where do your thoughts travel? Back in time to your childhood? Back to long ago friends? A sense of home, whatever that is to any given being, influences in ways our conscious minds are not aware.
When LeBron James chose Cleveland (Cleveland!), the seat of Northeast Ohio, smack dab in the blue collar, beer drinking rust belt, over international, cosmopolitan, put-on-your-sunglasses-and-sip-a-Caribbean-Latino-Cubano-inspired-cocktail-poolside-Miami, he was coming home. No surprise to social scientists.
The draw home is powerful. Home, what do you know? T or F?
1. Snails have homing instincts.
2. Giant pythons have homing instincts.
3. My daughter does not have a homing instinct.
Home is where the heart is, as the saying goes. But, what does that exactly mean? What is home? Home may refer to geography or an instinctive sense of being referenced to a particular time or particular location. Ask someone about home and they may give you an address or refer back to a neighborhood or community from decades long ago past. Home may not only mean where we are at any given time but who we are.
Four years ago LeBron James left for Miami and Cleveland fans thought they would die. They burned Mr. James’ jerseys and turned their backs on him. But in his own heart Mr. James never left Cleveland. And now the road has led him home, shoulder high, to the joyous fans of Northeast Ohio. In his letter outlining his decision to return to Cleveland, Mr. James wrote, “Before anyone ever cared about where I played basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball.”
When Mr. James concluded his letter with, “I’m coming home,” he was conveying more than geographic and historic fact. He was emoting a sentiment that most of us can understand. “It was where I ran. It was where I cried.”
We, in the animal kingdom return often by instinct to our territories after leaving. To our homes. Cats, dogs and snails have homing instincts. Salmon to spawning grounds where months before they themselves were hatchlings. Migratory birds. Homing pigeons. Humans, too, of course. We often return by instinct to our homes. We see this in decisions we make as adults about where to live. Decisions we make at end of life. Where we visit for the last time. Where we are buried.
Kansas fans were heartsick when Roy Williams returned to the University of North Carolina. But, as Mr. Williams found out, it is hard to say no when home calls. Mimi Heat President, Pat Riley, expressed disappointment at losing Mr. James but stated, “…no one can fault another person for wanting to return home."
Where is home for you?
Answers: 1. T; 2. T; 3. T. (when she’s bike riding she could be anywhere!)
Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.