I remember a time when I was young. I was looking through some items at an old antique store and came across this picture. It was of a house. Nothing too fancy or grand, just a house. I took some time to look at it, set it down and made my way home.
Sometime later, while in the same store, I came across this same picture. I couldn’t help but to pick it up and look at it again. There was something about this picture that had some sort of meaning to me, I just could not figure out quite what that was at the time. I decided that i needed to have this picture to further examine this intrinsic quality that it held for me. I took it up to the salesman and asked him if I could purchase it. He told me that he was sorry but someone else had just bought it a few moments before I came in to the store. I put the picture down and walked home, wishing i could have been there sooner to have a chance at getting this picture.
While at home, I played the image of this picture over continuously in my mind. I thought about it all day. I thought about where I would place it and what others would think of me having it. I even dreamt of it. To obtain this picture became the chief end of my everyday life; though I knew it very well might not ever be mine.
As time passed, my hopes began to dwindle. As I grew, I came closer to the realization that what I wanted so desperately could never be mine. The dreams went away, and the image in my thoughts began to fade.
One day, later in life, I went back to this store. The store which failed at providing me with the only thing I ever wanted as a child, my picture. As I walked though the store, I noticed a frame on the ground, though I could not tell what it was because it was covered in dust. It had on it a “Sold” sign, but I could not help to wonder what it might be. I walked over and shook off the dust. “Could it be?” “Yes!” It was my picture, my house! I leaped with joy as all of the childhood emotions I had felt for this picture began racing through my veins. I couldn’t help but to sit there and stare into the thing that brought me so much hope as a child.
I raced the picture up to the store clerk and asked if there was still a chance of it being for sale. He now wore a much wiser and aged look; one that shown of the hundreds or even thousands of people whom he had met since I had last seen him. Somehow, after all of the years, I could tell that he recognized me. He looked right into my soul and knew that I was still searching, longing for my home. He explained to me that the original purchaser of the picture never came to pick it up. He then went on to tell the stories of many others who had come and gone, purchasing this picture but never actually taking it home. I asked him if I could then buy it, and actually take it home unlike the others. He laughed and said that there would not be any harm in it, seeing as that no one that previously bought it was ever going to show up to claim it! He then proceeded to tell me how much the picture would cost if I wanted to buy it. How its value had increased tenfold as it sat untouched over the years. As I heard the man speaking to me the price I would have to afford, my heart sank. I immediately knew that I did not have the means to purchase the picture. I fought back tears as I struggled through every emotion possible; anger, sadness, doubt, fear. It did not seem fair to me that this picture had been taken advantage of by so many others, and I being the only one with a pure and humble desire, was the one who could not obtain it.
I told the salesman that I did not have enough money, and asked if there was anything I could do to get it. I explained to him just how much this picture meant to me. It was all I ever hoped for, all I ever wanted to have. He said that he was once again sorry, but he could not give me the picture if I did not have the money to buy it. He assured me that maybe one day I might have the means of attaining the portrait, and he would keep it safe for me until I did. But I knew the grim truth that it would probably never come to be. We paused for a moment, and I realized that there was nothing I could do to change his mind. I gave one last good look at the picture of that house; the picture that so captivated my thoughts and dreams for so long. I knew it would be my last, and I left the store.
On my way home, I began to think of what this picture really meant to me. “What was it about it that brought about in me so much feeling and desire?” I wondered why in the world a picture of a house could ever have so much worth and value to me. Then it hit me. It was never the picture that I wanted, but rather the house itself. All this time, all I truly wanted was to place my heart, my love, my soul into that house. But I could never look past the glass frame that enclosed it. My whole life I had been chasing an idea, a fantasy, and never really putting my efforts into what i really needed; a home.
Suddenly I felt a new type of joy, of meaning. I felt like all that I had wished for as a child had finally been given to me. I felt a sense of security and belonging. I could not help but to smile thinking of all that I had gone through to try to get that picture, when all along I was just making feeble attempts to gain nothing. I gave it some more thought and settled with a feeling of great relief.
I finally arrived at home from the store. As I got out of the car, I stopped and looked at my home. There it was. My family ran out to greet me and I again felt that same joy and meaning as when I looked at the house that was in that picture at the store. The place that housed all of my love and meaning. It was all I ever wanted, all I ever dreamed of. Then and there I knew that this place was my own, this place is my heart’s home!