We Are All Homeless

It takes more than a house to make a home.  It takes love and concern for other family members to  this.

The nuclear family in this country has all but disappeared.  A songwriter asked:

Where have all the flowers gone?

Long time passing…

I ask:

Where has the nuclear family gone?

Long time passing

Where has the nuclear family gone?

Long, long time ago

The mothers have all joined women’s lib

The kids are all preoccupied with electronic toys

The fathers are chasing their success and sports (and women)

And the most important thing is things

Parents shake their heads when kids run away

Or when they go on drugs or alcohol

When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?

There’s a painting in the Philadelphia Museum of Art which I call The Fractured Family. The mother, the father, and the child are isolated in different planes (I’m about to leave on a jet one), as are other attachments, such as the school and the playground.  This is not the nuclear family.  Something went wrong along the way.

The nuclear family exploded into a mushroom cloud —  into a purple haze, made up of unrecognizable fragments of electrons buzzing around chaotically. Maybe someday we can defragment our dysfunctional society, but in the meantime…

“There’s something happening here, and you don’t know what it is

Do you, Mr. Jones?”, whines Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan sang about the youth who ran away from home looking for better pastures.  He asked:

“How does it feel?

How does it feel?

To be on your own

No direction home

A complete unknown

Like a Rolling Stone”

Dylan was critical about the runaway youth who wandered in the urban wilderness.

Some homeless people in lower Bucks County, PA are not that much different in a sense than the hipsters who aimlessly wandered the streets in places such as Greenwich Village, NY in search of a better life.  And as one homeless person told me “we all have baggage.”

The difference between the hipsters who headed to their Greenwich Village Mecca and the homeless is that the hipsters choose to venture out, on a lark in some cases, to explore an alternative life style.  Although there are homeless who just walked away from life or are out in the street because of an alcohol or drug problem, many of them originally became homeless because of a job loss/home loss or other circumstance beyond their control.

And the homeless are that way, to quote Henry “Frogman” Thomas, because they ain’t got a home.  Otherwise, the homeless face the same vicissitudes of life as the rest of the population.

Back in the Eisenhower 50’s, there was no homeless problem.  The economy was sound.  Families stayed together.  Crime was low.  People were honest and worked hard.  At some point, there was moral decay in our society, which resulted in more poverty and crime.  Divorce rates skyrocketed, etc.

Just before the alleged Great Society of LBJ, the economy, as a result of the culture where the nuclear family thrived, was improving.  Poverty rates declined and the country prospered.  LBJ’s  war on poverty reversed these gains.  This Quixotic president launched an attack on windmills.  In fact, poverty as well as crime increased during this war.  Families were fragmented, as the system rewarded mothers to keep fathers out of the home.  As radio talk show host Tom Marr said “Where you have liberal rule, you have more poverty and crime.”

Today’s homeless problem is the aftermath of a nation in moral decay.  But, like the Phoenix who rises from the ashes, we can restore our nation, and resolve the homeless problem.  There are obstacles along the way, as is depicted in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, but God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bunyan/pilgrim.html

To help the homeless get a home, we at Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless have a plan to foster industry, responsibility and self sufficiency amongst the homeless.  http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc

You have the option to skip the ad and go directly to our fundraising site.

What is Wrong with the Homeless?

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There are different reasons people become homeless, but the fact is the one common denominator they have is, to quote Henry “Frogman” Thomas, they “ain’t got no home.”

What’s more important than the why, is how it can be remedied.  Let’s play doctor.

No matter what the reason someone becomes homeless, like a patient, after diagnosing the problem, the right steps need to be taken.  As is the case with cancer patients, a patient’s mental attitude is very important to getting well.

Like cancer patients, the homeless need to have hope, and faith.  They need to take one day, one step at a time, and have faith that someone cares.  In 12 Step Programs, there is a belief to hold on to by faith that there is a power greater than ourselves.

Like cancer patients, homeless folks need to take actions that will help them.  A friend of mine is undergoing chemotherapy.  The doctor recommends drinking lots of Gatorade. Likewise, the homeless need to improve their skills, further educate themselves, find jobs and do other constructive things.  As I wrote in a recent blog, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

The homeless need to have a mission in life, and not loiter in The Land of the Lotus Eaters.

Just as cancer patients are not helping their condition by smoking, homeless people are not helping themselves by escaping through alcohol  and drugs.  A married homeless couple got drunk and were hit by a car.  They survived the physical harm, but their cynical, nihilistic attitude and nasty demeanor continues to plague them.  People around them consider them  personae non grata.

People without a home are like the rest of the population — they face various issues, such as drugs and alcohol.  There are various degrees of problems in the homeless community, as there is in the general population.  Some can function in society better than others.

When you get down to it, human nature is human nature, and we all have the potential to get involved in  anti-social behavior.  It’s just a matter of degree.  Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist,  once visited a nuthouse with someone he called “an intelligent layman”.  This layperson remarked that the people he saw in the funny farm were just like everyday people, but with their problems greatly magnified.

The homeless are just like the rest of us, except they have the added burden of not having a home. In their circumstances, it is easy for the homeless to give up on life.  They sometimes feel that society has written them off.  And some members of society have.  That’s their (the ones who have written them off) problem.

Some of the homeless have become alienated from their families.  This past season there was a Christmas party in the public library in Levittown, PA and a Christmas dinner at a local warehouse, fixed up for the occasion.  The volunteers who help the homeless and other homeless people are their family.

I have been connected with the homeless in Bucks County, PA for about a year.  Still I wonder, as in the Bob Dylan song:

How does it feel?

How does it feel?

To be on your own

No direction home

A complete unknown

Like a Rolling Stone…

With a little help from their friends,  and with a power greater than us, the homeless, like Lassie, can find their way home.