It’s not news that people are losing their homes and many others are stressed out about it happening to them, too. And there’s general empathy for anyone in that position. But when the example is specific and you can make some personal connection with the person or the setting, it’s even harder not to think, “There but for the grace of God…”
I sure had that reaction when I read about a woman in Wilmette who was charged with stealing packages from outside peoples’ homes and then selling the contents on eBay. She is said to have told police she was worried about losing her home and was doing it to make sure she had enough money to pay her property taxes.
The idea came to her when she was walking her dog and saw recently delivered packages on neighborhood porches. She allegedly wound up taking packages from homes on Laurel, Maple, Ashland and 10th street.
These are all streets in and around the house where we raised our children before they went off to college and we moved into the city. Who knows if a fear of losing her home was what was really motivating the woman in this story. But visualizing someone doing this on the streets I know well from years of driving, jogging and biking, makes my heart heavy for someone driven to do that and who lives in my old neighborhood.
But whether it’s in Wilmette, Worth or Waukegan, there are people who are stressed and worried. And as this housing mess plays out, there’s really only one good reaction if you are reasonably secure about having a roof over your head: flat out gratitude.