I set up camp today.
I got up, loaded up my tent and supplies, and headed out to start another 12 days on the streets. It’s been over a year since I came back from the streets last time, and I didn’t know if I would ever do it again… but over the past three months, I’ve been feeling God nudging me to spend some more time living without a roof over my head.
I know some people don’t count this as really being homeless, and in some ways I agree with them. For instance, I know that on the night of October 30 I’ll go back to sleeping in my own bed next to my wife, I’ll be eating normal food again, and petting my dog, and remembering how cold I was while sleeping in my tent during my visit to the streets. And another way in which I agree with them is that, in some ways, I’m like a celebrity out here because I wear bright yellow shirts that ask the question “Do You Care?” on the front and “Prove It” on the back, and I’m very public about my thoughts and the things I experience out here—and that’s just the opposite of what I’d be doing if I were really homeless.
So why in the world would I decide to “pretend” to be homeless again in the middle of October, when the temps are going to be in the lower 40s? Well, there are a few reasons, but honestly the most important is that I feel God told me to. I realize that to some of you, this doesn’t make sense, and to be honest it doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense to me, either.
But it doesn’t have to. I just have to be obedient.
I can tell what this 12 days isn’t—it’s not a marketing ploy or some publicity stunt. It is a way to bring awareness to just how many people are hurting in our area because of poverty. And that 1 in 6 adults suffer from food instability. That 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry right in our own back yard. That some of the most overlooked victims of hunger are our elderly, and shut-ins who either don’t have a way to go get food or are no longer able to cook for themselves, so a lot of time they go without. That there are more and more people living on the streets because they can’t find affordable housing. I read that a single parent would have to work three full-time jobs at minimum wage to afford to pay rent for an average apartment in our area…
If you care, prove you care. By getting involved.
Last year, I did a lot of standing on street corners, but this time it looks like I’ll be mostly walking ( a sort of prayer walk, if you will). I’ll be in different parts of Clarksville on different days, praying for our city and ways that we as a community of believers in Jesus can address poverty. (I’m asking those of you who will to pray with me over the next couple of weeks about this.) Honk if you see me… or stop and say hi.
So here we go again! See you out there…