Tag Archives: Drug Addicts

When is a house a Home?

For me, home means safety and security.  That is what our armed robbery almost destroyed.

It is also a place of love, comfourt, forgiveness and caring.  We should feel safe inside our homes, protected from the outside world.  But we should also feel secure in one other, and protected by one another.

The people in a home should be transparent with each other, yet have enough love to overlook a host of transgressions.  I am reminded of Liz Murray, in her book Breaking Night:  A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard of which I wrote in a previous blog.  Her parents were both drug addicts and she was out on the streets early on.  I kept wondering why Liz became the success story that she is in spite of her background and circumstances.  The only answer that presented itself to me was love.  Her parents were honest about what they were, and they loved her.  She never doubted that and it was this love that allowed her to rise above what seemed to be her destiny.

Inside a house there might be much or little, neither which make for a loving home.  Parents who admit their mistakes do.  Children who respect their parents though they might not agree, do.  People who accept one another’s faults, do.

Two, or four, or however many people living together have to be able to give one another space.   My Uncle and Aunt had seven sons, one after the other, nine in one house which was by no means spacious.  They had to learn to cohabit their home in a way that made them one unit, yet where each still had enough space to be an individual.

It is not always easy to share your space with others, especially if your personal bubble is big, and you crave a lot of ‘me time’.  But therein lays the secret.  That which hurts, grows.  That which scrapes and scours, builds.  That is what the people in your home do.  They build character in you, they teach you, and they grow you.

Left to yourself, you would never become what you are ultimately, capable of being.

What about Them?

We don’t even notice them.  The marginalised, the down-and-out.  Tramps, orphans, AIDS victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, the neglected, human and animal.

They are nameless, faceless beings we pass on streets, or read about in papers.  They sleep under bridges in extreme weather, live in homes without parents, they are kept in cages and abused.

We can say that we care, but really caring involves doing something.  Just driving by and saying “Shame” is not caring.  It is a momentary tug at the conscience.

They are unlovely and unlovable, they contaminate.  They are unclean and pushed aside.  They cause guilt.  We do not reach out a hand, because they are there by choice.

But are they really?

The simple truth is, that there but by the grace of God go I.

So spare them a smile and a prayer.  It costs nothing.