In this five-part editorial series on Storia, one writer presents an honest, hard-hitting, enlightening look at living on the street. Sometimes, without an address, all you have is hope.
PART III: Keeping sane while homeless
My family, including my mother, didn't talk with me much while I was homeless. At times, I felt she was pulling away. In retrospect, I now see that talking with me often was more than she could bear. Her heart was aching just as deeply as my own.
Loving someone who is homeless is indeed the ultimate exercise in detaching with love, especially when he or she refuses to receive help or make changes, or you're not in a position to assist in a tangible way. However, I've found that often life does a clever turnaround. It takes time. Years, months, or even just days later, you'll find yourself 180 degrees - in the exact opposite position from where you viewed life not so long before. A lesson in humility.
After thankfully having a home again for about three years now, today, I'm in the position my Mom was back in 2013. A person I love deeply is homeless, living outdoors. I give him as much encouragement as I can. On one of our recent phone calls, I asked him to reflect on how he stays sane. Here's what he wrote to me from a library computer last week, including appropriately a sailing analogy, having once been in the U.S. Coast Guard:
56One of the topics seldom touched on in a discussion on homelessness are the options available should one find oneself hopelessly adrift on a sea of madness with no shoreline in sight. Having stood at this impasse on several occasions and therefore having a couple of tried and proven solutions
Thank you, my dear friend, and many blessings. April 23 Update: Found out today that James died April 13. Someone found him in his camp in the woods in Tallahassee. RIP. My sweet friend. I will miss you so very much. ?
Photo Credit: visulogix