It is often said ‘home is where your heart is!’ However, when you are forced to leave your home due to unforeseen circumstances it is very disturbing to say the least. By contrast there are a number of people and groups who often travel and change their homes and environments for positive reasons!
Photo by Oliver Smallman (imanoilgarch)
There are also lots of people without a permanent home because they are in a process of personal exploration and self-development. During such a season they are hoping to find out what they want from life and where they might become rooted in a home and local community.
At the age of twenty one I made a planned move to leave my parental home and take up a college residency in a one bed studio with a shared bathroom and communal room. My meals were provided by the student refectory which was an experience in itself. It was very exciting to leave my family home but also quite a challenge having to adjust to new surroundings and liaise and get on with fellow students. There is defiantly a less (minus) when changing homes in whatever circumstances that might be. However, if the move is considered successful then there will be benefits that enhances our life experience and enjoyment.
To have a home as a base for everyday living and working is very necessary (ness.) It offers a form of stability during times of physical and emotional changes. Some people, for whatever reason, find a measure of stability living on the streets during the summer months and even through a harsh winter. I have often heard it said that being ‘on the road’ can be safer than living in a hostel or some form of accommodation that is frightening, intimidating and physically bruising.
For over thirteen years I had the privilege of working in a supported housing project in Bury, Greater Manchester. I was part of a small and dedicated team that offered a home with structured support to those who found themselves homeless. The project was based initially in a large terrace house that acted as a nine bed hostel type accommodation. It then went on to develop into a twenty four bed space project that offered many individuals the opportunity to live in an independent flat with the hope of being able to qualify for their own social or private housing in the course of time.
I witnessed many individuals who for various reasons had experienced homelessness due to drug and alcohol abuse, fleeing domestic violence, moving on after being in prison or as an asylum seeker/refugee. In some cases unemployment and financial hardship often affected the ability to maintain a stable home. What I learnt during those years was that there was always a reason behind becoming homeless and it was important not to be too quick to judge and condemn. What I also witnessed was numerous individuals turning their lives around and re-entering some form of normal living with great success.
We may be shocked to hear the words of Jesus in Mark 14: 7 saying to his disciples that I am with you for a short time but you will always have the ‘poor’ amongst you, but you can help them in my absence. In Matthew 25: 31 – 40 Jesus confused many by saying that those who were without food, clothes and homes had been helped. People were puzzled by Jesus’ words but he meant that ‘in his name and in his absence’ we can meet the needs of the ‘poor’ and ‘homeless.’
The church has a great history of supporting all people in distress alongside other faith groups, agencies and countless charities, supermarkets and food banks. Together, people sleeping rough can be homed and those in need of extra food can be provided for.
Throughout the world people who live in extreme poverty have to adapt to their conditions on a daily basis. It is ironic that many learn how to be content in such situations whilst supporting and being helped by immediate family and neighbours.
A further irony is that many wealthy people find themselves starved of love, relationships and a fulfilled meaning and purpose in life. Poverty and wealth are relative terms and experiences. To find a happy home with people we can love and are loved by is priceless and something which we all can aspire to achieve.
One of the great tenants of the Christian faith and for those of other faiths, is a belief in a ‘heavenly home’ that awaits us when our earthly journey ends. It is something that we cannot prove but equally it is something that we cannot disproved. It is a hope and aspiration based on Holy Scripture and the life and resurrection of Christ
Consider afresh the place where you live and call home. May it offer each one of us safety, peace, happiness, with the promise of an everlasting home?
Pingback: Homelessness | Explore to Inspire
Pingback: Homelessness | Explore to Inspire