Homeless Hearts – Coming Soon
For many years I worked on this book, Homeless Hearts. I’m still working–editing and rewriting. This isn’t a book about physical homelessness, but about the heart condition that keeps people on the street long-term and, ironically, the same conditions that keep the rest of us living with a homeless heart regardless of where we live.
To learn more about this book, read the introduction below. If you’re like me, you may recognize some of the indicators of a homeless heart. I’d like to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave feedback.
Homeless Hearts Introduction
I don’t belong in this world. A stranger and alien, I don’t feel quite at home even in my own house. Something is missing.
C.S. Lewis said it best in Mere Christianity. “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Smart man, that C.S. Lewis. No wonder I feel out of place. If my heart is missing something, then how can I ever feel at home, no matter where I live? In the most extravagant mansion or all the way down to a cardboard box. The homeless state of my heart starts with hurts, pain and fear from the past. We all have them. We all deal with them in different ways. Some move forward in spite of them and others slip into a state I call the homeless heart.
My journey began because of a close friend, Lori Key, who worked for a night shelter at the time. Her heart ached for people who lived on the street. Mine—not so much. I understood why people might end up homeless temporarily, but long-term? I didn’t get it. As Lori talked about women and men she met in her job, passion zinged around the room. She spoke of those who she helped get off the street and into housing and programs. She had relationships with them, and yet she knew some of them would return to the street. Others she desperately wanted to help simply didn’t care, and that reality broke her heart. Often as we talked, water pooled in her eyes.
One day, she said, “We’ll never end homelessness until we deal with issues of the heart.”
“What heart issues do you see?” I asked.
As she described different behaviors, attitudes and beliefs, reality took hold of me, and I couldn’t shake one thought. I could say the exact same things about people I worked with in my corporate job or met on the streets, in stores or—well just about everywhere. Even the most devout Christians wore the same looks she described and sometimes acted no differently. I saw one difference—money. Those who managed to maintain jobs didn’t live on the street.
Ah, but the heart—the homeless heart knows no boundaries. The tenets of a homeless heart burrow deep and remain until we reach down and yank out the roots—whether we live without walls or in a mansion.
Lori cared about the physical state of people, but she saw the deeper roots of the heart. And I saw those roots as well. Her contagious passion spread to me. As I looked deeper, my heart ached for people from all type of lifestyles. How could I offer answers when I didn’t know the questions?
So I went on a journey of my own. With Lori’s input, I focused on seven tenets of a homeless heart:
- Spirit of Poverty
- Unsatisfied Hunger
- Lack of Protection
I dived in, studying so I could share what these looked like and offer healing to homeless hearts everywhere. After all, I didn’t have a homeless heart. I spent years dealing with hurts. I walked in freedom. “I don’t have a homeless heart. Not me,” I said to myself.
Funny thing about a homeless heart—no matter who I am or where I live, the tenets of a homeless heart can freely abide with me. I cannot escape until I willingly look at what makes up this malady of emotions and spirit. Life leaves layers, and stinking stuff happens every day. We live in a fallen world, and because of that, we will receive new wounds. Each time someone hurts me, it leaves a scar, which can fit in one or more of the roots already existing in my heart.
So as I dug deep into the seven areas, I found new layers—some didn’t surprise me. Others knocked me flat, and left me wondering what truck ran over me. I peeled back one layer at a time, revealing another, deeper, more mysterious. And even though I had tools to rid myself of the gunk, I still fought hard, desperately wanting to rid my heart of it all.
As I worked my way through this journey, I saw homeless hearts all around me—and I myself was no exception.
Peeling back layers is a process, one that lasts over time. I’m not sure we ever stop dealing with heart issues—at least not this side of Heaven.
During the journey, I discovered along the way both practical and spiritual ways to overcome a homeless heart. I am no expert and can only share my lessons and turn to others for experiences and insight.
I am still a stranger and an alien on this earth, placed here with a strong desire for a heart at home—a heart filled with a firm identity as an heir, rich in grace. A soul filled and satisfied, never alone and contented regardless of circumstances—a place of safety and security where I walk in ultimate freedom. My heart still aches for something greater, but as long as I’m on Earth, I don’t want a heart without a home. I’m practicing for all eternity.
The longing for such a heart burns hot. What I learned bursts in my mouth like a ripe peach on a Texas summer day—sweet and refreshing. I’m heading in the right direction. I still long to teach others about homeless hearts, but a little older, a lot more wiser, I’m simply walking the same path, a bit ahead and watching out for those around me. I suspect many who read this book will pass me on the road and reach back to pull me along. That’s what a heart headed for home does.
So what exactly does a homeless heart look like? And when I discover bits of one in myself, how do I respond?
The answer begins with a journey, one requiring courage. Looking inside isn’t always pretty, seldom safe, and often messy. It usually requires change to some extent. But then why would anyone write a non-fiction book that didn’t challenge his or her readers? That’s our job isn’t it?
I invite you to enter the depths of a world where truth resides. Truths that may challenge your feelings, shift your paradigm, or reveal and change a homeless heart.
My journey included a look at physical homelessness. After all, that’s what started this messy business for me. We can learn a lot from people who live without walls. You see, not everyone who lives on the street has a homeless heart, in the same way not everyone who lives in a world of wealth has a heart at home.