Happens sometimes, a comment that sets the mind’s wheels in motion.
Such it was yesterday, a comment to the effect of at least you won’t be homeless for the holidays.
It’s a comment made unkind with cruel edges not by intent but rather naievete about the meaning of home and homelessness. The comment triggered pretty intense journaling last night at the warm friendly Old Mill pub where after 8 p.m. a buck will buy a 10-ounce tumbler of stout (my favorite) or another housemade brew.
Home and homeless. I know a lot about each and not enough about the former, apart from short spells. I’ve not had a home; the enduring exception is my Subaru.
Homeless is that of which I wish to write.
Homeless is defined as a lack of a stable or regular domicile.
Homeless is so much more than a description/rendering of a physical state.
Homelessness is a state of mind and heart.
Homelessness is: having no place that will keep one. No place to breathe or to be.
Homeless is: a lack of space to belong, in safety and serenity, not in the world but rather within one’s self.
Homeless is: Yes, that sense of belonging extended by, if blessed, loving and accepting parents/family of origin; otherwise you’re own your own making it through this cold brutal harsh world, kid, here’s your train ticket, now go.
A little-known fact: I lived the whole of childhood in a state of constant danger and potential runaway into the streets, which, ironically, offered more friendship, acts of kindness and safety than the world I knew.
Fortunately, common sense, foresight, reason and intelligence repeatedly interceded and won out most times. I am blessed in mindfulness and alertness even at a young age!
Yes, Virginia, there are people who are homeless. Without a regular domicile.
Yet surely you have known, or known of, individuals who make the streets their home. They learn the system, the resources, the ins and outs, the lifestyle.
They are at home on the streets in their (official) homelessness. Power to them.
Then are there all variations, shades, colors, reasons and causes for homelessness (such as America is experiencing in mass numbers), a discourse too lengthy and complex for the purpose of this writing.
Am I sheltered? Yes. I’ve a roof over my head, a bed, hot showers and coffee of my making.
I am sheltered. Yet I am homeless. Through the holiday. Through life thus far. And through the foreseeable future.
For I’ve yet to find, have or experience a place of lasting that will hold me keep me protect me … a place that will honor and respect and value me …
a place of sacred space sanctuary, refuge and deliverance from the cruelties and foibles of mankind … a place to be … a space to be me.
Yes, Virgina, there IS a place called home, at the end of the rainbow. Yes, I will be homeless through the holidays, but sheltered.
This is all.
This is enough.
This is the meaning of homelessness.
A home is not just shelter and a shelter is not home.
Please be enlightened now for I wish not write on this painful topic again.
God bless us, every one.