If someone is categorized as homeless, it must obviously mean that they are lacking a home…but just what is a home? The Oxford Dictionary defines home as “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” Okay – so what are some of the tangible/intangible things that we associate with “Home”?
1) Safety: we are protected both from the elements and other people who may harm us
2) Nourishment: we probably have a refrigerator and cupboards with food in them
3) Sanitation: we can step into the bathroom anytime we need to
4) Hygiene: we have showers/laundry facilities at our disposal
5) Entertainment: we can watch tv/movies/internet whenever we want
6) Rest: we have beds/couches that allow us to sleep comfortably
1) Peace: we can retreat to our home/room in safety and solitude when we need to
2) Healing: when we are sick we can recover in our own space and at our own time
3) Security: our possessions and precious memories are relatively safe from damage/theft
The above do not even capture the most important piece of Home for most of us: that we are there with our FAMILY
Now, try to imagine yourself as homeless and missing many, and maybe all, of the above. I cannot even comprehend how it must feel to be cold, wet, scared, lonely, fatigued, dirty, hungry, sick, and perhaps even addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. But I can tell you that I have many friends who are struggling with these very things. And on top of all of these crushing issues, Society is also looking down at them and wondering “why can’t you get your life together and get a job, etc.”
As I see many unsheltered friends this week and wish them Merry Christmas I can’t help but be even more sensitive to how they might be feeling with all of the festivities going on…I know it can be a challenging time of year for many folks for all kinds of reasons. But I do catch myself and remember that Christmas is really the greatest gift for EVERYONE – that God did indeed send his Son because He loves each and every person that he created, regardless of where their earthly home may be.
I just want so much to lighten the burden that my friends experience from the judgement and isolation that is levied upon them. Let’s all please think about what Home means and how blessed we are…and then go further to try and share any piece of that with those who are missing it. If we can lift them up, they have a fighting chance to achieve it once again (or maybe for the first time). Regardless, our efforts must not just be during the Holidays – but all year long.