Gran's Apple Butter Blog

November 1, 2010

Going Home, Excerpt: Where the Heart Is (3/V)

Filed under: Book Series,Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Home — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 8:47 am

Chapter 3 – Where the Heart Is
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

At the end of the day, Gran would say, home is where the heart is. Even if our heart is tattered, broken, and torn, the way home lies through all that pain. Like someone once said: “The heart that breaks open can contain the universe.”[i]

Why? Because the path home is the path of love, and love can only flow through a heart that’s open. Love looks for open hearts like water looks for lowest ground, and Gran said if we’d just open our hearts, love would find its own way in.

Over the years when I’d recall those words I’d hear a sarcastic little echo inside: “If home is where the heart is, then where the heck is mine?”

When one doesn’t know where one’s heart is, it’s almost impossible to feel at home anywhere else, with anyone else. In fact, Gran thought we should redefine the word homeless to include homelessness-as-a-state-of-mind. Or perhaps more accurately, a state-of-heart.

Maybe the worst kind of homelessness is the heart kind. It’s definitely the sneakiest, ‘cause we don’t even realize it’s there or see it as something that can be a very real dis-ease. Then we may be smack in the middle of a mansion, with diamonds on our fingers and rubies in our soda-pop, with maids and butlers and tennis courts and helicopters and all the symbols that everyone tells us mean we’ve MADE IT.

And yet, if we feel lost inside, how much is all that worth?

Not much, Gran said. She had a friend, Tina, who came from that world. Tina said it was the scariest place of all, because she’d always been taught that once she had all that stuff she’d be happy.

Well, she got all those things. She lived the dream as best she knew how – straight-A student, top of every-class-she-was-in, got the white-horse husband and his reflected “glory” as another high-achieving Type A, got the house, got the kids, got the killer job and title and respect and recognition and awards, got the money and the safety and security, got everything she’d been taught there was to get. But then Tina found, to her horror, that she still felt empty inside. And even worse, she didn’t have anything left to hope for then. 

Luckily for her, Gran lived not far away. They had lots of apple-butter-makin’ sessions that summer that slowly brought back the smile to Tina’s face. I remember the first time I saw her after school started. She’d come visiting every few days all summer long, then after Labor Day I didn’t see her for a while. When I did I hardly recognized her – she looked like a whole other person.

That day when Gran went inside for a refill, Tina told me she’d made a lot of changes in her life, and even more in her heart, once she found it again that long, hot summer. After a lot of eye-opening, heart-mending, and priority-shifting in her world, she’d figured out what was important and what wasn’t, and she’d decided that apple butter was WAY up there on the list. 

I knew I liked that lady.
[i] Beautiful words from Joanna Macy

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!


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