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  • Reverend James Squire

Low Windows and a Homeland

When we purchased our home, I couldn’t remember much about it. It was during the time of few homes and many people in the market to buy. We had looked at so many homes that didn’t work out so we were both sick of the process. We were taken to see the home by our real estate person on a Saturday afternoon that we eventually purchased. I remember going back in for a second look and then we called it a day.

We flew the next day to Key West for a bit of vacation. My real estate broker called me and asked, “Jim, do you want to get in (referring to that last home that we saw)?” I said “yes!” She responded, “Good, but know that there are 18 others who are interested. I will come in strong.” We purchased the home from Key West using docu-sign.

I could remember very little about the place except that it sat on a large property. That was one of our first criteria as we wanted enough ground so that our lab, Sadie, would have room to move around. Labs are very energetic. How many people buy a home with a dog’s needs important in the purchase? When we returned to Newtown Square, we looked at what we had bought. It has turned out to be a great place for us and for Sadie. An electric fence keeps her safe. She can wander about.

There were many things that I didn’t know about the home until we were living in it. All were pleasant surprises and one in particular. It has low windows. The windows on the first floor start about a foot or so from the floor so the place is filled with light. But more importantly it is Sadie’s dream for she can look out and see everything that is happening outside from many vantage points. When she is not playing lord of the manor surveying everything from inside, she takes up residence in the front and watches over everything and everyone including the dogs that are walked on the road in front of the property. Our trash man always stops, gets out of his truck, and gives her a biscuit. She runs along the invisible fence until he gives her the treat. She is involved in her world.

In many ways her quality of life is directly affected by the sense of place in that this is her land but she can also view the world around her and to be involved in that world. A sense of place and an ability to see the world clearly and to be involved in its security is important to all people as well. Both are essential for our identity and produce meaning.

Both of these components are essential to the people of Ukraine, but they are absent which has made this war and its atrocities so terrible. They are committed to their land as seen by the current reversal of many people returning to Ukraine in spite of the danger. For many they have not been able to look out to see the beauty of the land that has been turned into shambles. They are sequestered below ground for their own safety. Sometimes we forget how important it is for us as people to feel safe in our home as well as to be able to see the world about us from a safe vantage point. The war in Ukraine should be a message to us not to take this essential part of our life for granted. Many are blessed in our country to have a homeland as a nation as well as a home on land where we reside. America has provided us with metaphorical low windows to look out and see a safe world for many with the exception of those exposed to the violence that lurks in both areas of the underserved as well as the rest of us.

One of the important messages that is in my wheelhouse of ideas is that “you can’t be what you can’t see.” The Ukrainian people long to see a future that makes sense to them and a homeland to which they can return. “Right now, they can’t be what they can’t see.” This is at the heart of their despair. What will their future look like? What will a return to their homeland be like? What will they see?

Like all of us who have a home and a safe view of the world as our perspective, they need this again to make them feel whole. They need low windows to see freedom and a sense of their personal property on the earth to be beneath their feet. We all need this! All creatures of our God thrive when this occurs. We all need a homeland! It is what the Ukrainians yearn to see!

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