Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homeless Story of J, Part I

This is a fictional testimony of a hypothetical homeless person named J, who could be you or me.

(Note: See also Homeless Story of J, Part II on March 5)

I’ve learned some things sleeping in the bushes, but even more by being an outcast from society. A new perspective has hit me in the face, or should I say many fragments of new perspectives. What was normal is now strange. What was unthinkable is a muddy stream of disparate thoughts babbling in my confused head.

I’ve spent a lot of time watching ants. They have their own dramas and difficulties, toils and strifes. Like us, their lives are full of changes and hurdles. No matter how great their achievement--carrying a boulder on their back, or overcoming a wasp--they pass unheard and unrecorded. Always unrecorded.

You can do great things, and complete an amazing odyssey, whether in deed or through the force of an intrepid mind; but if no one cares, it all vanishes the moment it is over. I am certain this has happened to billions of ants,, and many many people too.

The Indians: Chumash, Apache, Hopi, Cherokee (I can’t recall the others but they are legion). They lived where I now sit for thirty thousand years. What sagas and adventures they must have had. What triumphs over obstacles. Personal strengths that overcame manifold difficulties. All gone. Like the ants carrying boulders on their backs and fighting wasps. Even our Western ghost stories are about dead crackers. Apparently ghosts don’t haunt an area for more than a few hundred years.

You can say there exists a god who listens and soothes the righteous, even in the desert. Yes, it is good to say this. It can make all the difference. But what I’ve learned since becoming an exile, who couldn’t find a job and then slipped farther and farther, is that there are always gods to listen, but they may be no bigger than your head.

The most amazing thing is that I have a chance to be like an angel. I remember a film about angels. How lonely and strong they seemed, moving among people, sharing love and compassion, praying for the broken, wrapping their wings around the tormented; and yet they were totally unheard and unfelt. It was sad, the ineffectiveness of these ethereal and beautiful beings.

How many homeless, I wonder, have become like them? You see, when you’re on the streets, you have a choice. If you fill yourself with compassion, and pray for everyone who walks by, you become like an angel.


  1. interesting perspective to write from. powerful.

  2. I appreciate this feedback. It does seem to be a powerful perspecctive, taps into something in me... There may be more epistles from J.

    Thank you again!!