I wrote this for a friend of mine who spoke at a “call to action” gathering to address the issue of homelessness. He is a very intelligent man so I was a little unnerved at the request and really hoping to get it right. The request was simple, however, “what do you want them to know about homelessness?” (these people who actually have a heart to do something). This is what poured out. Having someone I have so much respect for deliver this message, has been incredibly healing, a validation I don’t quite have words for. That someone who remains outcast and suffering on the streets of our rich nation may be helped because of it, is truly priceless. Thank you, Mr. Ellis.
“God’s Locket, The Apple of His Eye”
When I was very little, too young to wonder why
They’d ask “what do you want to be?”
“An Angel!” I would reply
But you have no wings, they’d say, you’re not made to fly
Just wait I told my heart, and fed the flame that roared inside
And when my life crashed all around me, the devil mocking me out right
Ok, I thought, with wings or no wings, I guess it’s time to try
I prayed to God my shield to steady, and jumped in to the Night
And what I saw still breaks my heart, wrongly accused and judged without the right
You have condemned both saint and sinner, left on the streets to die
Manna from a dumpster
No place to rest my head
This sounds all too familiar
Life among the walking dead
I watch them strutting past, their hands quickly to their pocket
More important to protect than this girl with God’s love
…the only pearl inside her locket
I am no empty vessel
What else to do but pray
…and walk it
These streets, these miles, these tears, these smiles
I’ll use this sword
and flaunt it
My God why can’t they see me
I am broken and afraid
They won’t even stop to feed me
just throwing water on this sword Your Love set ablaze
Is my eye for You too single?
Those stripes You earned in vain?
Is your Love that much a mystery?
You, who call me by my name?
Do They not know
how Your death has redeemed me
From the torment of no Grace?
Why then would they try to punish me
When I clearly bear witness of His strength
My life a testament to Christ and the Hope He set in place
My God why can’t they hear me?
Am I to be judged here without case?
Sent to slaughter
They don’t believe I am your daughter?
How could this be? My God, please send me a believer
A saint to ease this pain… from the lies of the deceiver
But in the presence of my enemies, I’m going hungry while I wait
they eat their meal in plain sight of my heart strings
as if I am the one that they should hate
I am here to tell you something before it is your fate,
Just stop and think about your lack of wings before you set your table
on the wrong side of that gate
And have to convince yourself that it is God
who has shown up with too little and too late
Hear this call to action
With not one note of despair
We serve the Most High Fortress
A far greater wealth to share
Jesus sent that devil running
Please tell me why you’re scared
You’d rather chase his cunning?
Than lift a finger, though your heart was made to care?
Do you really think that devil’s something?
And chasing down his footsteps
some worthy cross to bear?
Are we not ALL from that Mighty Kingdom?
Don’t pay attention to these dirty jeans, it is the strength of Christ I wear
The strength of Christ…. the mantle that we all could wear
Rise up you Holy Children
Hear the call from that High Throne
Find Grace in his persistence
Love God above with all your heart and mind and soul
your neighbor as your own
That is it
That is all of it
All you ever need to know
If you will do what you were told
Let me give this a little more context for you. The hardest part of homelessness and the thing that still haunts me the most, is how few people would meet my eye. While I was homeless the first time around, in Boulder, Colorado, I looked everyone in the eye and silently prayed and begged for them to see -not just me- but the Spirit within me. God was right there and I saw how few people recognize the Holy Spirit anymore and how many “Christians” considered my homelessness a sin. It is and was more frightening than you may understand. Thousands of people who did not recognize or acknowledge neither my humanity, nor my spirit.
After Boulder and after less than a year of struggling to maintain housing and ending up homeless again, I didn’t attempt to meet those blank eyes the second time around, I just did everything I could to protect myself from the verbal harassment, “get a job! get a life! pray! go away! scum! piece of shit! lowlife! etc etc etc”. We isolated ourselves for the most part because while you are homeless, you will likely encounter the police over and over and over again and be told to move on because being alive and poor in the sight of good tax paying people is treated as a crime. The constant stress is something I have not yet recovered from. I still find it difficult to engage in social activities, always wary of that look of shame and questioning of my character that will come up if the issue of homelessness happens to arise.
I have hope that people will start to get it, that I will see real change but I very much live in fear of the potential for it to happen again. People with disabilities are twice as likely to live in poverty and living in poverty is one of the quickest ways to end up homeless. So, as much as I want to end homelessness for everyone, it is my son I worry about the most. I don’t know if I could handle putting him through this kind of nightmare again. For every child sleeping in the back seat of a car tonight, please ….do what you can to advocate for supportive and affordable housing.
May we all know the meaning of the word “home” when we look into each other’s eyes.