Wednesday, 25 August 2010

day 15: home

since i'm trying to catch up today, i'll dive straight into the topic, which is my privilege of having a home of my own. this is a huge privilege, because so much of the world's population don't have a home of their own. i'm thinking particularly of the people of pakistan who are suffering a huge humanitarian disaster because of the floods, and how many millions are now homeless because of this. there are those who lose their homes annually to flooding (particularly in bangladesh), but continue to rebuild their little huts in the same place because their is no other land available for them.

i'm lucky that i own my home. i don't have to worry about regular inspections, nor do i have a fear that a landlord may decide to sell the house thus forcing me to shift. i have had this home for over 10 years, and the research shows that the greater stability resulting from home ownership leads to better health and education outcomes for children (ok, im too lazy to find a link, but i've definitely seen it).

i'm incredibly lucky that my home is in a good neighbourhood, and i feel safe living here. i'm lucky that the only noise that bothers me is the constant traffic outside my window, particular in the morning & evening rushhours. i don't, for example, have to live close to an airport or a railway track where regular loud noise disturbs my sleep.

i'm extremely grateful that my neighbours don't bother me with excessive noise or any other form of harassment or nastiness. i'm not as friendly with my neighbours as i should be, but we all seem to prefer to mind our own business and get on with our lives without bothering anyone else.

i'm lucky that my home is close to and in the zone for good quality schools. this means that my children are also automatically privileged through no effort of their own. i'm also reasonably close to my work place - it never takes me more than 15 minutes to get to work, and sometimes less (the joys of not living in a big city - yay!). this means that i have more time for other things.

i really appreciate that i have a section and a garden, even though i do little to maintain them. i'm really very thankful for my gardener who does an excellent job, and keeps the place looking lovely.

i'm privileged because i have plenty of space in my home. i don't live in a situation of overcrowding, or having to cram my belongings into a small space. more space, in my case, usually means more mess but even so there's plenty of room to move about.

my home is my sanctuary. it's my place of rest, my castle or i often think of it more like a cave where i can hide from the world. somewhere where no-one can hurt me or disturb me. it's where i'm in charge and in control. i love coming home, whether it's from a trip out of town, or even an hour doing the grocery shopping. there's a feeling of intense peace & thankfulness i get as soon as i pull in the driveway, which i can't adequately describe.

i guess this is because home wasn't always like that for me. i remember the times, in years gone by, when i used to walk from home to work and my mood would lift the further away from home i got. and then in the evening i my heart would get heavier with every step i took towards home, to the extent that some days i would have tears in my eyes thinking of what it was i was going home to.

i remember the time when home was a place of extreme tension and stress, and when it felt like there was no place in the world that was truly mine and truly safe. i remember a time when my home wasn't mine at all because there were others who commandeered all the public living spaces, til i felt that i could hardly leave the bedroom - not from any physical restriction but just from the mental stress. i remember home being a place to escape from and not a place to long for.

i thank God those days are long behind me now, and think of all the people for whom home is a war zone, a battleground, a place where the strength is sapped and the ego crushed. i think of the people who feel helpless, with nowhere to turn, and trapped in their own homes. i think of those who are actually trapped through fear, lack of transport, lack of connections in the community, or pure physical restraint. home is not a happy place for so many people, and my heart goes out to them.

i suppose that one of the causes to support in this area is habitat for humanity, though i have heard of concerns from others that this organisation has a notion of the "deserving poor" underlying their work. as far as i'm concerned, i believe everyone has the right to a safe and healthy home regardless of whether we think they deserve one or not. i can't confirm if those concerns are true or not, so have included the link here. ETA: another place where you could donate your time and/or money is women's refuge.

to those who have no home, or have an inadequate home for whatever reason, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

No comments: