Longing for Home

A single word that enables
me to label
another based on something that I do not understand.
Something that I cannot comprehend
because it isn’t mine.
At least, that’s what I’d like to think.

A word. A curse
of loneliness, forgetfulness, wistfulness, brokenness.
So much easier to reduce it to faceless numbers and stats,
to another body lying on that shelter mat.
It’s analyzed. Digitized. Stigmatized. Dehumanized.
30,000 people in Canada homeless every night.
The dividing line between not being homeless and homeless gives one a fright.
For some it’s just one paycheque away;
for others, homelessness is to be alone
in a sea of strange faces when they desire to be
known. Recognized. Loved. Regarded,
not bombarded
with society’s restlessness,
its’ distress
that homelessness knows no boundaries.
That it doesn’t ask for permission or say please.

No. It just takes up territory,
a vicious attack on my identity.

It goes beyond our understanding that it is just sociological, economical, ecological,
and reaches into the emotional, spiritual, and mental
side of our human nature that can’t be so easily defined.
There are no lines. It affects every gender, race, colour, age, and culture: all of humankind.
It won’t be just yours.

Who stops and asks who those people are?
It’s so much easier to ignore. To pretend this reality doesn’t exist
because maybe then you’d have to do something, or ask yourself to go there.
To that place where you planted that sign in your own heart “beware.”

A curse of impermanence,
of broken identity and broken dreams,
of rifts unhealed; emotional wounds bleeding, uncongealed.

We are all on quest to belong. To root ourselves among a throng of
people who accept us as we are.
We want to be defined by something besides what we are
To root ourselves in something. Someone,
who would know and provide for our needs.
Emotion-al. Physic-al. Spiritu-al. Ment-al.
The All in All.

Home. A word.
Close to the heart
do I dare pick it

A word
so difficult to define.
And yet, we long to make it ours. Mine.

A word.
Lost in semantics
and yet we humans are so frantic
to be found.

A word that conveys, yes, even amaze-s|
our heart’s desire
to belong.

We are relentless, regret-less, restless
in our search for home.

Is it remembering those days gone by
when you sat on grandpa’s thigh
while grandma baked bread, scents of food and love mingling in the air
Dispelling gloom, fear and despair?

Is it sitting by the fire,
having a place of safety to retire
with loved ones all around,
home, a solid building on the ground?

We will never fully grasp, never fully understand
what it means to find home until we accept
His Plan
to restore all things in a Per-son:
The Son who came from above.
Atoning One who restores
fulfills our deepest necessities.

Maybe then we can move on,
see that what we desire is possible. Achievable.
And not only for me, but for my friends and family.

Maybe then we will really start to care
for those people lying on those shelter mats,
those faceless numbers and stats…
becoming His face.

Maybe we can really start to believe that we have been given power to
rebuild memory,
rewire our mentality,
repair our inherent dignity,
retire our anxieties,
restore our capacity to build home.

Hope for home.

So hard to grasp the concept.
And if we could would we all accept
It’s meaning?

It’s like it has its own heart beating. Beating.
Beating. Beating.
Can you hear it.
There appears a Person
on the horizon.
Yes. It’s our Homemaker. Our Creator.
In Him there’s hope;
Hope for home. An idea that despite
can exist.
It encourages us to persist,
to live each day with our minds fixed fully on the One: The Son
who redeems, revives, restores our hope for

[This spoken word piece was written for Brian Walsh’s “Beyond Homelessness” course at the Toronto School of Theology in February, 2014. Rachel Van Halteren is a student at Wycliffe College.]

Rachel Van Halteren

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