According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are some 600,000 homeless people in the U.S. The actual number is probably much higher due to the fact that it is difficult to procure an accurate census of a roaming population.
And, this is not even to speak of the 1.6 billion globally who are homeless or living in mass slums with no access to water, electricity, sewers, or grocery stores. I know for a fact from having been there, for example, that people living in tiny sheet-metal-structures within one of the top slums in the world, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya, use a system which they call “slinging urine” for their human-waste disposal. With nearly a million residents crammed into this inadequate squat of land they have scant options. So, they urinate in plastic bags. Then, in order to dispose of their waste, sling the bags round about above their heads until the bag has emptied itself into the air. Of course, the bag is saved to be reused for as long as possible.
Yet, I also have some very sad news for even the rest of us who live in nice, climate-controlled homes complete with running water, proper toilets, access to plentiful groceries, and refrigerators in which to store our booty.
We seem to have a pandemic of homeless to ourselves, losing our purpose in life, lack of an understanding of our vocation—which is not our jobs to keep the lights on—but rather how we are true to the dream God had for us when he first formed us in our mother’s womb.
In other words, we have lost the meaning of the Home of Me. The me God intended me to be. Frederick Buechner wrote in “Beyond Words”, “…we are homeless even in the sense of having homes but not being at home in them. To be really at home is to be really at peace, and there can be no real peace for any of us until there is some measure of real peace for all of us. When we close our eyes to the deep needs of other people, whether they live on the streets or under our own roof—and when we close our eyes to our own deep need to reach out to them—we can never be fully at home anywhere.”
Buechner’s words echo the words of Christ when in Matthew 25:31-40 he said to the effect, when you care for others, you care for me. While it will look different for each of us—some will tend the financially poor, others will tend the spiritual poor even if financially rich, some of us will learn sign language to help the hearing impaired, and some of us will visit those in prisons, etc.—this is our vocation. This work is the Home of Me for each of us, finding and living our vocation. It does not have to be our day job; it does have to be some act of service to make the world a better place in some way.
Just as each of our brick and mortar homes look different, so too will our vocational homes.
What does the Home of You look like?
Love, your sister along the journey,
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