In the January 2009 “Neighborhood Network,” the newsletter for Connecting Caring Communities, there is a picture of Millard and Linda Fuller at a work site in Shreveport (posted a few days ago on this blog). Beneath it is this quote from Millard:
You can build houses, but if you don’t build community it will fall apart.
Millard noted several times in his visit to Abilene that when he started Habitat for Humanity they intentionally chose the word “habitat” and not “houses.” Houses implies simply a structure where someone might live. “Habitat,” however, implies that there is more to living that the physical structure. From the beginning, they knew that to change the world and change lives took more than building houses, it took building community.
That’s why Millard naturally fit with the community renewal vision at Connecting Caring Communities and Community Renewal International. That’s why dozens of families, many evacuees from Katrina, now have new homes in the Higher Ground project in Shreveport.
He knew– as we all do when we stop and think– that life is more than the stuff. He also said at our Sweet Evening event: “He who has the most stuff wins,’ that isn’t true. He who has the most friends wins.”
Relationships cannot be taken for granted. Too often they are. But without community, everything falls apart.