I watched as a group of people collectively raised a wall. Countless hands reaching from the floor to future roof lifting more than just lumber and nails. The collective action was physically symbolic and structurally sound. The mix of people wrote their wishes, blessings, gratitude on the frame. Community, together, with a purpose, with dignity.
I watched, supported by crutches, humbled, overwhelmed. I value independence. Too often I do not ask for help. Yet, in the last week, I experienced the most amazing expression of community.
Before the wall raising, a gathering of family, workers, supporters, volunteers. All joyfully participating. I could barely imagine, October 21, a date just given to me, for the wall raising for my own home. I would be surrounded by workers, volunteers, community members, to raise the wall for my home. Wishes, dreams, blessings, would be shared, written, absorbed, into the structure.
I’ve learned a little today, and the past few months, about Habitat for Humanity. I understand the need to prepare. I am also very aware of events so life changing there is no possible way to fully prepare.
Resistance to this change is strong. I love where I am. Appreciate the sisterly connection that has developed with my housemate. The simplicity of renting brings an ease and mobility to my life. Why would I want this to change?
Ownership? I’ve long ago released the illusion of ownership. Everything is temporary. The American Dream? I know all too well the traps associated with a pre-set, constricting image. The picture of a husband and wife, impeccably dressed. A boy and girl, stylish and frozen smiles, posing in front of a four bedroom house, yard, dog and two cars. Unless the description includes joy, gratitude, forgiveness, honesty, community and dignity, the picture and the American Dream is just a movie set façade.
The walls of the house being built before my eyes began with the intention of simplicity and dignity over 30 years ago.
Yes, everything is temporary. Tears, joy, laughter, even in time, houses, diminish into memories. Dignity and the foundation it builds, remains.