The purest form of love I have ever experience usually comes from God during our silent conversations. It varies, but generally it is somewhat terrifying and exceptionally beautiful at the same time.
Living on the streets can be tough, to say the least, and for some people it is the only home they’ve known. If the streets can’t teach you a thing or two about perspective then nothing ever will. Some people cannot exist in a traditional home. Like a newly freed prisoner has trouble reintegrating into society, there is a type of institutionalization that happens to those that live on the streets too long.
There comes a point when it feels like an absolutely eternal prison. Living on the streets becomes a cage you are tossed into and it feels like you will never escape. When you do finally escape you realize you are different. You are changed. Something fundamental about a person has to change to survive such an experience.
It feels like I float in and out of homelessness. I never truly feel home anywhere and yet even sleeping under the stars can, at times, feel like the most natural and comfortable place I can find in this world.
At one point, during my first experience living on the streets of Austin, I lost all hope. I felt that loss way before I could define it, and it took even longer to admit it to myself—much less another human being.
“Linda, I’m going to die out here!” I cried one day.
With a disapproving look and an encouraging voice Linda argued that I would make it out. I have done so more than once since that day. I am willing to bet I will cycle through the reality of these streets a few more times.
Even after I move on—into housing—I will be back. I will always come back. If I don’t come back for the next ten years I will still end up back here. The only way I make sense of my life out here is to help others out.
The streets taught me one of the purest forms of love I’ve known. Simply by throwing me in the midst of incomprehensible chaos God taught me how to quiet my spirit and truly hear Him. That is why I will always come back.
It is eventually our turn to be the calm in someone’s storm.

ByJennifer Irelan

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