I’ll Leave the Light On for You

A house is just a building; a home can be another thing altogether. I remember an old movie where the main character, a widower, described life with his wife as something that gave him the sense of coming home, only to no home he’d ever known. I’ve told my own wife many times (especially on handwritten notes or cards) that she makes our house a home. We even have this sign placed near the entryway into our house that reads, “What I love most about my home is who I share it with.” Home is an incredible thing when it’s all that it’s meant to be.
The story is told of a woman who hated her father, ran away from her home when she was 15, and planned never to return again. For quite a few years, she in fact did not return. But there were those nights, especially around the holidays, when she would drive down her old street, look at her house, and see the Christmas tree in the window along with the porchlight shining in the dark, as if to welcome anyone who might approach. It seemed that the light was always on.
The girl would not dare to go in, however, because of all that had happened between her and her parents. The porchlight continued to shine, though, reminding her of better times and memories of her mom and dad. And somehow, someway, she’d find herself there on Christmas Eve, parked on the street across from her parents’ house, drawing comfort from that little yellow porchlight.
Then one year, the girl who was now a woman grew tired of spending Christmas Eve in her car. She decided to take a risk and go home. Thankfully, she received a grand welcome with arms open wide to draw her close. As she hugged her mom in the doorway, the woman spoke of the porchlight and how it had always seemed to remain on, no matter when she drove by. Her mom smiled and her eyes filled with tears as she said, “You know, I always left that light on for you. Just in case you came home.”
Home. That’s what we try to create as husbands, wives, parents, and children. I know this world is not our home, but the people we love can give us a glimpse into what home is supposed to be. It’s the place where stories are told, lessons are taught, and memories are made. For the woman in the story—and maybe for all of us—home is a place where the light shines in the darkness. For me, home is the place where dreams come true, every single day.
Troy Burns