Genuine homes of infinite value

I walked through a beautiful home the other day – sweeping views of the endless ocean and flanked by mountain grandeur. Exotic granite and expensive wood made it a house of exquisite standards. But then someone observed that, “it looks like a house that was built in anger.” And indeed, everything was glamorous, but the architecture was un-lovingly conceived. The design was brutal and clinical. It seemed sad and wasteful that such a grand house could never be a home.

 

When I was a boy my father owned a very isolated cattle farm in the mountains of northern Zululand. There was only a tin shack home with an earthen floor. It had no bathroom and no running water. You bathed in a basin and cooked beneath the stars. When morning came, the cold would wake you up. And you’d go and blow up the leadwood coals outside, knees clenched together as you sat shivering while waiting for the ancient black kettle to start puffing its first breath of steam. And then, over the tin mug rim of cheap coffee with condensed milk, you’d slowly watch the delicate false-dawn roll away from the east. The shy smile of morning, followed by a silent symphony as the sun lit up the crest behind the Lebombo mountains and spilled across the valleys. Purple upon blue, pink upon mauve – each ridge its own hue. And between them – where the Pongola river softly rustled – unseen valley floors under solid mist. The cry of a baboon – followed by the harsh bark of a bushbuck that echoed down the canyons. Memories.

 

I have lived in beautiful homes since then. But I have never again lived like that. Genuine homes do not cost money. Real homes are built with love. They cost so little and hold infinite value.