I often describe relationships with certain people as, “being at home” with them. However, this isn’t a conventional feeling. So what is it? It’s a sense of comfort, joy, and love I feel when around them.
I am lucky enough to call many people in many places, “home”— my family, close friends, and more recently, my community here at Christ in the City. I never thought however, that I would find yet another home during my time here— a home with the homeless.
During my first street walk, I felt completely out of place. I saw the homeless and thought, they are so different from me. I will never be comfortable around them, much less feel a sense of belonging with them.
Then it happened.
I was leading a group of college students on a Saturday morning street walk. I was eager to introduce them to some of my homeless friends and show them my street route. However, my excitement soon turned into frustration as I was unable to find a single familiar face.
Quickly, I felt out of place, unqualified to do this ministry.
The park that I walked through every day immediately became a foreign land, lacking the familiar faces I longed to find. Slowly giving up hope, we decided to make our way back home.
As we crossed the street, I saw one of my homeless friends joyfully smiling, sitting underneath a tree. The spot was unfamiliar and outside the zone of my usual street route, yet I felt completely at ease walking over to greet him. I felt at home. In that moment, I realized it’s not the place that makes somewhere feel like home, but the people.
The Lord has worked in mysterious and unexpected ways through my friends on the street. He has softened my heart and created a space within me to love the most unexpected people. He has given me the ability to feel at home with the homeless.
Gabi is a missionary from Tupelo, MS. She is a sucker for ice cream, always has a song stuck in her head no matter what, and loves people watching in airports.