When Jesse and I (along with many others) were raided by the SAPD, I was amazed by how many people were coming out from under the bridges and bushes nearby. (You can read about the raid in the post called “Detained.”)
Why were so many people sleeping under the bridge? The area was not very clean. It was trashed out, damp, and smelled like a mixture between motor oil and urine. The shelter is just down the street…why would they not sleep in the indoor shelter…or the outdoor shelter?
I was surprised to see so many of my friends (who regularly sleep at the outdoor shelter) around the bridge that night and the next morning during the raid. They usually are sleeping on mats…why would the go sleep in the bushes?
Then… one truth was revealed.
“We are human. We got to make love somewhere— my friend Jesse honestly confessed.
Oh my gosh…they were rolling in the hay…literally…rolling in the hay.
I was surprised to hear that…but I don’t know why…after learning more…it began to make sense.
Personal connection and touch is a real human emotion. We all have the same bodies. We all desire love and physical connection. Despite one’s view of sex and marriage…many have the freedom and liberty to choose how to participate in sexual behavior.
If we want to…we have homes for privacy…not bushes or bridges.
If we want to…we can stay late at our girlfriends and boyfriends house…and only risk our parents wrath…
If we want to…we can sleep around…and only risk the destruction of our marriage, current relationship, and faith….not our civil freedom.
In everyone of these situations..there is a common freedom. Freedom to make good choices and freedom to make bad choices—-and many are very bad choices…!
However, most of my homeless friends are limited to no freedom when it comes to personal touch or physical encounters…married and not married.
In the indoor shelter (for good reason) the dorm buildings are separated and not co-ed. Only a few couples qualify for married housing…until then you are separated with no place to go.
In the outdoor shelter (for good reason) the courtyard is separated into men’s and women’s sleeping areas. Members of the opposite sex are not allowed to enter the other’s area for any reason. No sitting together on the mat…no snuggling…and definitely no sexual contact.
I don’t blame the shelter for the rules…they need to be in place. However, when there is a lack of common freedom within a community…the members of that community will usually find ways to gain some of that freedom back at any cost…
Even if it’s destructive to their body, other people, or property.
The cost: a trespassing ticket…or jail.
Freedom…its a tricky thing.
Love is even tricker.
I don’t have any good solutions yet. However I know that the lack of liberty and lack of places of shelter for the homeless to find privacy is a big problem—- even when the problem seems as simple as making out with your beau.
What are your thoughts?