During this worldwide pandemic, many of you have probably seen articles discussing that it’s a privilege to be able to stay home; that it’s a gift to be able to practice social distancing when going out on necessary grocery store runs. It’s a privilege because people in other communities cannot do this, highly impoverished areas live in very close communities with hundreds of other people. For this reason it is a privilege. However, there is another reason that it is a privilege to stay home.
Home. This is a title with many comforting connotations we give to our place of dwelling. However a certain group of people has been heavily on my mind these past few days as I’ve been enjoying my time at home- the people who are not staying at home, but at house. To many, a house is not necessarily a home. For a disturbing amount of people, their house is the last place they want to be. Not because it’s boring, but because it’s unsafe.
Think of the kids who look forward to school because there is actually some accountability if someone hurts them. Think of the child whose only safe place is at their teacher’s side or their friend’s house. These kids are suddenly forced to stay in a house full of fear and anxiety with little chance of anyone peering in their home or ringing the doorbell to make sure everything is ok. As an adult I think back to friends and peers I had during my school days and I remember many of them expressing themselves so negatively about their families. Since I have been undeservingly blessed with a good family, I could honestly never understand why. I would think of my home, and my family and couldn’t imagine using the descriptors and expressions they used. I thought they were just trying to be cool. For some, that might have been their intention but for most, I believe, they had unsafe, dysfunctional families.
Think of the woman who is in an abusive relationship, who is now jobless and forced to live under the same roof a man who not only beats her but constantly tortures her heart and mind with poisonous words and threats. The safe interactions with her co-workers are gone, her only source of autonomous income is gone. Her abuser now has more reason to keep her under his eye and to not allow anyone to come near.
Remember these people. We still have a responsibility towards them. Social distancing does not mean social disengagement. Stand far but be close because what might save your health will take someone else’s.
Each house has its own culture, its own customs, traditions, and habits. Each house has what many would call its own “vibe”. Every house is a shelter, it’ll keep you dry, warm or cool, every house is a place to sleep, a place to eat and a place to store belongings but…
keep in mind that only some are homes.
Reach out to those whom you may not have otherwise, check in on people, and above all pray for everyone who is less safe during these times at “home”