Last night was my first night outside my home. Starting at 2:15 yesterday afternoon I can no longer use my home to live in, use any of it’s amenities, or sleep indoors for the 40 days of lent. My car is now parked at work, and I take the VIA bus when I need to get to church or go somewhere personal. My income is now only 10 dollars a day.
My journey has been transformed from an idea and into a reality. It’s much less cute.
Because of my past experiences and lack of true homelessness, last night seemed like a camping experiment. (Similar to the first night in college…it felt like a summer camp even though it was really school.) The start of the evening was not much different than camping with friends for the weekend like I used to do in High School with Bob, Kevin, Ryan, Camilo, Jeremy and Patty. I had all the same stuff… a large camouflage backpack, a change of clothes, a sleeping bag, and a jacket inside. The night appeared somewhat normal until I tried to go to bed. There was something keeping me awake…
Then it hit me…or my ears.
The first thing I noticed was the amount of noise the city produced when I was silent. (Patty used to make noises when we went camping…but not like this!….fyi Patty is a guy…I have received questions about this!) It was strange to hear even though I have lived in downtown San Antonio for almost 4 years. There were people talking, people laughing, cars honking, sirens blaring, and trains going by making all kinds of crazy sounds. (Those train horns are loud! It’s amazing how much noise there is out on the streets…from large noises caused by the freeway or a person just walking by while talking on their cell phone. There is very little privacy…Even if you are all alone.
I met a man named Freddie. He helped me figure out how to get to the bus stop and find the best route to take to where I work. He was extremely kind and easy to talk to. After our discussion about homelessness, he said, “Hey, we do what we can for each other…we are all in the same boat together.” I enjoy people like Freddie….Always ready to help others in the same boat. And I am only a temporary passenger.
Some people I met have been living on the streets for years and seem to be caught into a pattern of chronic homelessness for a multitude of reasons. Some people I have met have been homeless just a few nights and feel very confident that their plight is only temporary. They act like they have everything under control despite their obvious setback. I pray this is true, but I fear that it is not. Homelessness comes in all shapes and sizes. Despite my desire to figure all of this out. I know the problem of homelessness is larger than just one noisy night.
Night #1 may be over…but there are many more nights to go. Where will this boat go?