Those of you who have known me for any length of time knows I am prone to, shall we say, obscure thoughts from time to time, so maybe this won’t be a total shock. But this is definitely “out there,” even for me. I have been thinking a lot lately about living homeless. And not, “Boy would it suck to be homeless,” but more like “I should live in my car.” Ludicrous, I know. But hear me out.
My biggest goal in 2011 is to remove myself from debt. Starting in 2012, I want to head back to Haiti on some sort of semi-permanent basis. I want to help build homes, teach kids, do whatever I can. I simply fell in love with that country while I was there. So I also began thinking how I was going to pay the simple bills I might have while doing full time mission work. I realized that my biggest expenses will likely always be housing. It started off with a crazy idea of “what if I never had to pay rent?” Of course, my next thought was immediately, “that’s stupid. I have to live somewhere.” But what if I didn’t? Millions of people throughout the world are homeless. In Haiti, that’s a huge problem, what with the earthquake this year. Imagine the witness of going down there and saying “not only am I her to help you build a home, but I also go without one.” Now I realize I still would have it infinitely better than them. I would be able to live in a car. I still have a job. I have the ability to take a shower every day and get food. But it sends a powerful message, I think, nonetheless. We in America talk about the homeless problem, but how many of us have ever spent time that way? Not many. Homeless people are someone else’s problem. As long as they don’t come into our neighborhoods. But it’s something I feel I want to understand. Aside from Haiti, one of the other main ministries Conduit supports is Place of Hope. Not only are they a drug and alcohol rehab center in Columbia, TN, but they also have a homeless ministry. I want to be able to relate to them, even a little. They say you can’t truly relate to someone unless you walk a mile in their shoes. What if I spent a few months doing just that?
Now I will be the first to admit the reason I first thought about this was saving money. I can pay bills down much faster cutting out that expense. Once I get a vehicle, rent will be my biggest expense. But think of where else I might save money. I will save on gas. I could “live” closer to work. I wouldn’t have to worry about where I stay wherever I go. Home would simply go with me. The only expenses I would add is a Y membership (work out and shower daily) which, considering how much money I made last year, will run around $12/month) and a PO box, as I need somewhere to send my mail. I can pay bills off and start saving for Haiti. There will be things that I might need to get before I go. I can have the money to do so.
Honestly, this might never come to pass. I very well might chicken out. Or listen the voices of reason of the few people I have been brave enough to share this with already. I might honestly miss a bed. I might miss the security of it. But then again, if I truly want to live Gandhi’s words of “live simply so others might simply live,” what better way than to live as simply as I can? What if I forgo some “creature comforts” in order to have more money to give? And Jesus was homeless. The ultimate couch surfer, he was. What if I followed his example even more? Now I am not Jesus. Nor am I Gandhi. But if I can do it, why not? Why not put myself out there and do what I can to further His kingdom? It’s just a thought. But you may be right. I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic that you’re looking for.