Contrary to popular belief no one, regardless of financial security, is extinct from finding themselves in a downward slide to the unknown world of homelessness.
It is frightening to face the realization of being cast out into the unknown that many have never experienced. Unfortunately, when life seems to be going in the right directions, without prior notice things can change in the twinkling of an eye. The comfortable status of security such as a home, clothing, food and transportation becomes just that…so comfortable that we often forget that it can all fade away and the next step could be homeless.
The low economy has caused many “well established” people to lose everything. The cost of housing, fuel and food over exceeds the amount of money two working people can afford. They often find themselves in a “catch-up” situation, stealing from Peter to pay Paul. Soon, when the money stretches far beyond it’s limit, and the bills continue piling up, the food is scarce, it seems all hope is gone.
Rest assured, there are many families suffering through the perils of hardship. Job loss has caused an expansion in the homeless community. Scores of families who once thought they were independently secure have found themselves without a job, a home and lacking in the lifestyle they were once accustomed to.
Experience often is the best tutor. Resting comfortably in a secure home wanting for nothing more than what I was blessed to have, I found that I was not exempt from becoming a homeless individual. For two months, due to lack of employment and the inability to pay the house payment among other expenditures, I became one among the homeless population.
Fortunate to have an older model vehicle, which became my home, I still had an adequate amount of security. I also had a friend who owns a horse farm therefore I had a safe place to park. Shelter was not available on the farm, so the little car I had to sleep in was by all standards a blessing.
Walking the trails and finding comfort in the horses, gave me time to consider my situation. I learned that I could survive in the heat of a very dry and hot summer without air conditioning. The luxury of a bath was the highlight I appreciated more than words can express. An outside faucet from which I drew cold water served me well. I drew water from the faucet each evening and took my “bath.” I was not equipped with a wash pan, so I used the pan from whence my dogs drank water to clean myself. I also appreciated the cold water from the faucet due to the heat that enveloped our area day after day and night after night. The cool baths made me rest better. The car was hot and humid, but I chose to keep the windows closed to ward of mosquitoes by night and flies by day. During the day I spent most of my time outside in the heat. My skin became sun weathered and more often than not my clothes were wet by the evening due to profuse sweating during the hottest hours of the day.
I suffered the feeling of hunger and thirst. I often longed for an icy drink of water but most generally resorted to the outside faucet which produced cool water of which I drank from a garden hose. At least it quenched my thirst.
Through my tribulation I sought help from the source I was taught about during my growing up years by two strongly believing parents. My mother taught me that there is no problem to big for God. Prior to my dilemma I had become smug in my Christian status. I felt that because I know God as my personal Savior, He would protect me and keep me during any storm. It is true that He will, but often we must walk though the storm in order to appreciate the calm.
Poor planning and misjudgment on my part was exactly what put me in the situation I found myself in. It was not by any means the fault of my Lord. His blessings kept pouring in even though I was in an area of my life that was a bit unsettling. Humiliating to say the least. I recognized the blessings God had prepared for me before the initial blow to my ego ever happened. I had a car to sleep and find comfort in, several times I received money which I used for a shower at the local truck stop, food and gas for the car. I realized I was exceptionally blessed more so than the people on the street who had nothing but a cardboard box and perhaps a spot under a bridge or in a dark alley where they spent their nights.
As profound as my experience was, I am now safe and secure once more, with a different outlook on life and the securities I had In the past become accustomed to. No longer do I take material things for granted. As the Bible teaches us, those things can rust, decay and fade away. Not one of us knows the hour our world can crumble down around us. When it is least expected we can arise at any given morning and find ourselves without.
I found myself speaking with God more than before. I often thanked him for the car which brought me shelter. Even though He already knew my situation I found myself discussing It with Him. I thanked Him for every day, for the sun that shined by day and the stars that gave me light during the night. I listened to the coyotes howl and prayed that they would keep their distance. He took excellent care of me through my many trials. I owe my safety and my sanity to none other but God.
When I had reached my earthly limit and knew that I could no longer continue in the situation I was existing in, I prayed to God that He would put me where He wanted me to be, but sincerely asked Him if He would deliver me from the car and put me in a bed of which I could stretch out and rest an entire night. The console in the car was a hindrance, and the back seat was to narrow.
I had before my downfall, searched without success for a job. Due to an office closure I had been without a job for the last two years. The lack of employment was the culprit that began my homeless situation. Once homeless and without means to accommodate myself, or a place to shower (showers at the truck stop cost $6.00 each) and dress appropriate for job searching I discontinued my search. Finding work was also apart of my daily prayers.
My last night huddled in the cramped confinement of the car, when I spoke to my Father I felt a calming relief that things were about to change for me. My prayers were answered. I found a bed in which I could stretch out included in the job I took. I am now able to survive.
My bed is inside a Semi-truck. I am permitted to carry with me my two dogs who also suffered the consequences of homelessness during our turmoil. My God heard my prayers and answered them. Though the darkness lasted for a season, I am at last able to see the light.
Giving up was never a thought that entered my mind. When I felt the spirit of desperation trying to enter through the hedge that God had placed around me, I found that to be the time to speak with my Father.
I kept a journal and someday, I am sure, it will be a worthwhile read for me. To recognize the dilemma I ended up in written on the pages of my journal. A dilemma without hope, a place to call home or often no food or nourishment. Of course the human body became discouraged. I longed for a tasty meal or a cool drink. But I clung to the promise, “God will supply all my needs.” He did exactly that, and He continues blessing me day after day.
This was an experience that I had given thought to, but never expected it to happen to me.
It gave me insight to the fact that it can happen to any of us, at any time. I have a stronger respect for individuals I see eating from dumpsters or sleeping in cardboard boxes.