I think about this often, what it means to be homeless emotionally, physically, spiritually: disconnected, destitute, denied.
I myself have certainly been there, in one way or another.
In 2010, I filed for bankruptcy after a messy breakup and short sale of our home. With my “home” all boxed away in storage, I lived with friends until my credit cleared, which I pretended was a blessing, but I couldn’t deny the underlying curse.
The irony was that I was allowed to keep my only asset: a shiny new truck.
I remember distinctly driving past the people on the corners in Baltimore. Them making assumptions about me, and, of course, me them. I have a feeling we both got it all wrong.
I was inspired to write this poem during that time of “homelessness” after I saw a group of runners all wearing their race tee’s, proud. I thought about how so many of mine ended up in Good Will and how the meaning gets distorted when it’s no longer a ribbon.
Had he said “I love you” and taken the opportunity to be a dad, he might be in a better situation. Instead embarrassing his daughter, his family, to shame, leaving her to blame herself because he wasn’t man enough to step up to the plate. Batting for her was never his forte’, but he had extra innings to tie the score and couldn’t even do it.
If it wasn’t the bottle it was failure, regret and greed that stood in his way. Never feeling like he was the man he’d imagined, so he couldn’t establish something he wouldn’t live up to. No fortitude to deny his own disease to please anyone but himself. Now misplaced, alone, vulnerable…exiled from a past that he lost with all his possessions.
For us, he’s a representation of what we could be. A hero we envy or a zero disgusting us, to lose our appetite. We feel sorry for his circumstances and can’t help but glance in his direction as we drive by creating stories around his sign and demeanor, wondering what it truly was that got him there. We sometimes give a dollar, but not without pondering whether the proceeds will be spent on just another fix. When we don’t give, we have parables of Jesus haunting us as we drive past. And we argue back, “Well, thy neighbor should get a job!, or at least kick the habits that keep him bound to these tricks.”
We’ve lost trust in his sincerity cuz we can’t see honesty in eyes dark and dull, sunken deep with charcoal. No sparkle to reflect memories of a life more human, more digestible. Delusional to suppress the, him in all of us, the drop out, the lost, the lonely. The carefree or the care-less. Where 26.2 means nothing, and determination isn’t trendy, it’s breaking away from safety, and sitting on your own corner with your own sign, begging for forgiveness, shaking a cup full of change, cuz isn’t that what we all need. If not change of position, change of vision, change of perception, or change of emotion. Change worth making, if not for a dollar, for each regret, ignored, stepped over, left, hardened on the pavement.
Willie Baronet ends his TED with this quote. It’s perfect:
“Home is a place we all must find, child. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. When we know ourselves, we are always home.” -Glinda, from The Wiz
I leave you with this: Judge less.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!