Spiritual Peace: The Definition of Homelessness

By T. K. Woods

The spiritual aspect of homelessness is a theory that spiritual homelessness is in sync with physical homelessness.  While being homeless, but also by seeking God and reading His word, I was given this insight about the connection between the two.  God used many women to give me knowledge and insight. One beautiful woman knew I liked to read and suggested I read Tell Them Who I Am: The Lives of Homeless Women by Elliot Liebow.  I enjoyed the book. It was almost like a camera following the women, and I got to go along for the walk while on my own walk.  Most of the women in the book believe in God or a higher power just like many of the women who were homeless with me.  Also, another likeness is that many of these women were repeat offenders of homelessness--they returned to homelessness multiple times.   

 Some women, after acquiring homes or even leaving the state, eventually returned to the same shelter.   I read the testimonies of the women who were tired of the repeat action in the book, but I’ve also seen up close the frustration that comes with the recognition that you have traveled in a fat circle only to return to homelessness.  I watched this frustration play out as I sat in the basement of the shelter. One day, this sister came in and had a major outburst: “Shit! I keep ending up at this shelter!” Nobody flinched; we were all used to sudden loud outbursts.  I thought I could not relate to her because this was my first experience of homelessness, but I could.  I failed to remember my own such outbursts of returning to the same brokenness--the same depression, the same fear, dealing with the same people who did not care for me.  Being with the same men who did not love me; drinking the same alcohol that did not fill me; and smoking the same blunt that did not ever get me as high as I really needed to go.  Much like her, I was homeless long before the physical manifestation of homelessness took place. 

 God gives us lessons, and when we fail to master them, we repeat them.  The repeats are never what destroy us; it’s the refusal to listen and hear God’s solution. It could be we just want to do what we want to do. We want the men we want and not the ones God wants us to have. Maybe we are seeking something that is not right for us: money, fortune, or fame.  Whatever the reason is, it’s something we refuse to give to God.  My definition of homelessness: the absence of God or the refusal to hear and obey Him.