Monday, March 03, 2014

Over My Head

I could hear the rain tapping on the sides of our house. It was a welcome sound, mostly because it is a sound we have missed over this past very dry winter. There was also comfort in the drip drip drop of the showers. I was inside my house. There was a roof over my head and I was able to experience the rain from an auditory perspective.
There are plenty of people for whom this is not the case. Here in the city I call home, there are at least three thousand people for whom the rain is no comfort at all. The number of homeless people in Alameda County is double that, and as I watched the Doppler Radar pictures of the storm moving across the state of California, I thought about the hundreds of thousands of people in its path who were looking for shelter. What were those basic needs? Food. Clothing. Shelter. They weren't listening to the rain. They were soaking in it.
And so I took solace in my house. I thanked my father, since it was his life insurance that gave us a down payment on the place we call home. I have often reflected on the tragic game show nature of that transaction. Would I rather be living in a one bedroom apartment, wishing that I had the scratch to be making the jump from renter to ownership, or sitting on the couch in a much larger manse where we have ample room to build and expand our lives. Sometimes I take it for granted. That makes me ungrateful. I think I would rather be grateful. Grateful for the roof over my head and the gift I was given all those years ago.
It's the true sorrow of being homeless. First you need the house, then you can make a home. I'm glad I got that chance, one I should never take for granted.

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