Homelessness and its struggles are really just a metaphor for all of life. Stripped of the clothes and the cars and the houses, a person is left vulnerable and transparent.
But inside mansions or outside under overpasses, people are people. Addictions plague the wealthy and the poor. The capacity for violence and self-destruction exists equally in every human heart.
Getting to see the world through the eyes of someone who is homeless is getting to see myself and others I love more truthfully. People who are homeless have been laid bare. As they choose to share their lives with me, if I have courage enough, I have the opportunity to see myself as I really am. I get to see that even though I’m not choosing every day between smoking a joint or going to an AA meeting, I am choosing every single day between what’s good for me and what will hurt me.
Together, we are being called – not to follow a list of rules, but rather to remind each other of our dignity as people and to invite each other to see ourselves more honestly. It is through this sort of relationship that we are invited away from what hurts us into what is truly good and beautiful. We remind each other of the glory that we see in the other person. We get to dream together … Who were you created to be? … and help one another imagine a more beautiful life. Then, we get to walk there together.