Home sweet…

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The word Home means many different things to many people.

Most people do think their home is their castle. Some only regret the lack of an alligator-filled moat when ‘you-know-who’ comes to visit.

And even if your home isn’t a real castle, it’s nice to know home is where you can ‘hang your hat,’ even if your hat has to compete with the chickens coming home to roost.

In any case, home is where the heart is… we hope.

Some homes, however are very strange. Consider these:

Home is where the skateboard is in Malibu, California. For the skateboard fanatic, pro-skating world champion Andre Senizergues built an entire house designed like one big skateboarding park.

Home is where the sunlight is in Tokyo, Japan. This 3-story house built by Sou Fujimoto Architects is completely transparent, every wall, inside and out. Lots of sunlight. No privacy. 

In Keret, Poland, home is where the… well, it almost isn’t anything at all. Jakub Szczęsny designed and built a house that is only 60 inches wide to fill a skinny alley between two other buildings to make sure no urban spaces go unused.

So it is pretty clear home is wherever you feel most comfortable living. It should be where the heart is.

That is always true, except when it is not. A truly remarkable number of people in the United States, and even here in Jamestown, New York, have nowhere to hang their hats… no home at all. They are the homeless among us.

This week your Jamestown Gazette challenges our readers to learn about the homeless.

They are not, however, mere specimens to be studied. Among the most ancient stories at the foundation of Western culture, a man named Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” A pastor friend of mine once told me the answer to that timeless question is neither “Yes” nor “No.”

The answer to the question of whether or not you are your homeless brother’s keeper is, “You are your brother’s brother.” That answers the rest of your questions about the homeless.

The notion that those of us who have what we need should care about those who do not is both ancient and disputed.  Many people say the poor and homeless have caused their own troubles. Only people with absolute power and control over every circumstance in their lives can believe that. For the rest of us, “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” may be the wisest comment on the homeless we can make.

A Tamil poet and philosopher named Thiruvalluvar more than 2,000 years ago wrote, “The true nature of all wealth is temporary. Those who have wealth must here and now do good deeds that will live longer than their wealth.”

So, while it is true that home is where the heart is, it may also be true that where your heart is, there can also be a home for those in need among us. We are our brother’s brother and our sister’s sister. No other justification for reaching out is needed.

Read this week’s cover story and let your heart talk to you about home.

Enjoy the read.

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.