House and Home

It is Spring Break now and instead of studying for my classes today I have been spending far too much time watching video of the earthquake and tsunami damage in Japan. The video showing the destruction of people’s homes and businesses is extremely upsetting. The video of people searching for their parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, friends and colleagues is difficult to watch.

Houses are shelter but they are also symbols for family and security. Watching houses swept away by masses of muddy water is all the more upsetting knowing what those places mean to the people behind the cameras. Hearing cries and shouts in the background as buildings that seemed so strong and reliable are destroyed is a reminder the environments we create are given value by the people who live within them. Their breath, their warmth, their thirst and their safety must, and will, come first. Shelter is next, shelter makes the other needs easier to meet.

Home is something else. Home is something people create for themselves. What is haunting me today is the thought that, with the loss of so many people, home will be far more difficult to rebuild than houses.

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