“How does it feel, how does it feel?
To be on your own, with no direction home
A complete unknown, like a rolling stone”
-Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone
Being homeless is not just a matter of being physically homeless. It’s about not being at home or at peace with yourself and others. One symptom of being without a home is drug use in places such as Bucks County, PA, which has the highest overdose rate in the state and second in the country. Bob Dylan wailed about problems in society.
In Desolation Row, Dylan indicts society with the punch line “The Titanic sails at dawn.”
People, including myself, sometimes lose their way. About two decades ago, a pastor told me that the biggest problem in the church he pastored was that the sons and daughters of church members have left the church. These are the baby boomers, the Woodstock generation who have gone astray and have gone their own way.
Jesus told a parable about a wayward son in Luke 15: 11-24. Like the lost Woodstock flower children, the prodigal son took his inheritance and ran wild, until he became destitute, and like David in the Bible, fell into an emotional pit. If you read the Bible, you’ll know that God rescued David from the pit.
When the prodigal son returned home, broken, his father ran up to greet him and welcomed him home. It was like Timmy being reunited with Lassie!
Years ago, when I worked for Pennsylvania State Parks, the head law enforcement ranger told me that once someone is sent to jail for a crime, he is automatically a career criminal, no matter how small the offense. I pointed out that the writer O-Henry went to jail for robbing a bank, got out early for good behavior, and became a respected member of the community and a famous writer.
“He was being punished,” the ranger said Augustly.
Finally, when I wouldn’t agree with him, the ranger, continuing in an August manner, pointed out that this is what the state of Pennsylvania believes. Am I impressed that this is the right view because the state says so? Nope!
The state also, like Donald Trump, promotes gambling. It doesn’t make it right. In fact, gambling is morally wrong.
Officials representing the Bucks County Health Department also writes people off. They try to shanghai the homeless, offering them housing to lure them into mental health treatment, whether they need it or not. Holy quid pro quo, Batman! Some people view the homeless as being mentally deranged.
I view liberals as people who have mental problems.
Some people in lower Bucks County, PA simply write off the homeless as having no value to society and unredeemable. I disagree.
Some of the homeless I’ve met in lower Bucks County PA are finding their way home, and I just don’t mean housing. They have found comfort in the Lord, whom they allow to direct their paths.
A house doesn’t make a home. There’s a circle of homeless friends who get together a community meals who are at home with one another. Recently, one of them got engaged. The couple are decent people with moral values.
Some people who live in Bucks County sit smugly and are judgmental about the homeless. What’s important to many of them is personal peace and prosperity, and they look down at the homeless from their Ivory Towers.
When I did a program at a state park for a summer camp, the kids were very unruly. One of the leaders approached me and said “they won’t listen to you; they come from low income families — from places such as Levittown and Bristol.”
I told the counselor that income has nothing to do with behavior, and pointed out that many park problems come from the children of local Yuppies, who drive up in their BMW’s. She shrugged her shoulders and dismissed this idea.
Likewise, many of the problems in the homeless community are a result of refugees from Recovery Houses, some of the druggies from upper income families. See my recent blog Druggies and The Homeless about how the recovery houses in the area that have been creating Frankenstein Monsters who are running amok in lower Bucks County.
I, a baby boomer, lost my way for awhile. Like David, I fell into an emotional pit, suffering from anxiety, so much so that my heart raced so hard at night I almost called 911, depression, and I harbored anger towards others and was angry at the circumstances of my life.
Like some of the wayward people in the homeless community I know — such as drunks and druggies, to whom concerned Christians have ministered, I have flagged off people who have tried to bring me back to God and his ways.
Finally, this prodigal son came home. I am now much better equipped to deal with the vicissitudes of life; and can better weather life’s storms.
Lately, the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA lost one of their own. A woman dearly beloved in the community died from cancer. She’s come home. People, like the evangelist character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/pilgrims/summary.html have pointed her home, while serving as an ambassador of Christ.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” – 2nd Corinthians 5:20.