500 Miles From Home


Kentucky Refugee Ministries

I had a rather unsettling experience the other day while teaching ESL at Kentucky Refugee Ministries here in Louisville. We have students from all over the world in the class room: The Congo, Cuba, Somalia, Syria, and Iraq to name a few.

One of the other teachers in the class room was teaching a lesson on home and asked the students to name their home, as in what countries they came from.

She declared she was from Arkansas and then asked the students to name where their home was and they answered in turn. Then, for for some inexplicable reason, she turned to me and asked, “Benn where is your home?”

Well she caught me by surprise and at that moment I was dumbstruck because I literally could not think of an answer and it was at that moment I realized I did not have a home.

So I said, “I don’t really think of any one place as home as I have lived all over.” Well she repeated this back to the class and as the words rang rather hollowly in my ears, she went on with the lesson.


If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone

I sat there stewing in the inadequacy of my lame answer and finally came up with a better one. I raised my hand and grabbed my hat!

“Here is my home,” I cried. Then I took my hat and hung it up on an imaginary nail on the wall behind me. “My home is any place I hang my hat!”

Claire dutifully repeated this back to the class, then she caught my eye with a moment of silent recognition, then said, “good one.”

Lesson learned.


Give Me Liberty!


Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”