Many years ago…
I am holding a book in my hand watching a photo of an old man, a vagabond, sitting on the street with old and dirty clothes, unwashed, unshaved, with beard and not quite ordinary hair. In this case the vagabond mirrors one of those homeless persons I meet on the street sometimes. Remembering those characters various questions rise in my mind.
Why are they living on the street? What brought them here? What happened? What are they thinking all the time? Is it freedom, absolute freedom, that makes them living this life? Is it a feeling? Don’t they see any other way of being?
Tears come into my eyes when thinking about homeless figures. It creates the needy feeling of having to talk to them, finding out more about their way of thinking.
Are they responsible for their way of life? Made them society go this direction? Did they choose the way by their own? How do they survive? Is surviving and the hope for a better time the only thing they are moved by? Is it love? Love concerning the independence of being free like a wild bird? What means freedom to them? Being uncontrolled in a place where most things are about control?
What if we all were vagabonds? Why not? What keeps us from living this way? We talk about freedom… Do we really know what it means TO BE FREE? What is it? Is it possible to live freedom? Or is it only that we misunderstand freedom? Might we not any more recognize all the rules around us, telling how we should live, behave, be? Do we truly chose OUR LIFE? Or do we follow what others consider best for us? What society considers appropriate? Could a vagabond be the same accepted like a successful business man in our society? Aren’t they the same human beings? Don’t both of them have the right of existence? Why do we look at them in despised ways? Why don’t we allow them to have a voice in our world? Isn’t being drunk the only way they can overcome the contempt in our world? Does drinking break up the tight ropes put around them unwillingly? Is it a key accessing their inner truth? Is drinking their mean of communicating social shortcomings? How much of them do actually drink? Isn’t it a mere assumption that homeless are drinking? What if there are just a handful within a thousand?
What would happen if we give them a chance of speaking their truth, spreading their thoughts and opinions? Might those people feel ashamed to ask the government for support and money? Are they too proud to ask the system? Is it therefore they prefer to live on the street? What if many of us consider them being stupid? On the opposite, what if they are far ahead of our intelligence and understanding of life, we just miss realizing it because we never ask?
Although many of these questions still apply, I now see vagabonds from another perspective. Being on the road for more than five years myself has taught me several things I wish to share in this context. For me, homeless have a right to be there. I love them for being there, for being reflectors to me and society. They are as equal as any other human being. They have their own, surely moving life story, which I believe worth discovering. We can learn from them as much as they are able to learn from us. It is always a win-win match to approach a homeless.
Something inner tells me that often they choose to live like this. Other times, they might be dragged into it, and stay there because they find something they have yet missed elsewhere. I believe that if someone prefers to live a life in his own four walls, he would likely be actively searching solutions for his situation once he ends up on street; it might likely be that such person just disqualifies for a life on the street.
I like to support homeless whenever my feeling speaks for it. I do smile at them, a heart-warming smile. I wish them all the best for whatever they choose to experience in their life. If I feel like giving money I give without hesitation.
My former urge to speak with them declines further and further. Life taught me to allow them to be, to respect their way of life, to accept their way of being, to simply love them.
What about your experiences, approaches, and thoughts concerning this topic? Feel free to post your comments below.