What Does Sanctuary Mean to a Homeless Person


What does sanctuary mean to a homeless person?  I ask myself this question all the time, because technically I do have sanctuary from the storm.  I live in a shelter and I have walls around me that keep out the cold, wind, rain and snow.  But does that mean that I have a sanctuary or does that mean that I have a roof over my head?  Don’t get me wrong, anything beats the streets, I just yearn for something more at this time.  It’s like they always say, you always wish for what you don’t have?  In working my now full-time job I am thinking of what my permanent home will look like and how I will make it my own.  I think of the things that I will put up on the walls, the meals that I will cook and the people that I will invite over to share in my home.

When you don’t have a home that you can call your own, you are always thinking of what a permanent home would be like and what you will do once you acquire it.  I hope that this time around I am able to not only acquire a home but also to keep it.  I hope that I have turned the corner in regards to my emotional and mental health and I stay on the same path that I am currently on.  I get scared when I think of what I have been through and the changes that my life is taking.  I know that I hold the power to this life, but tell that to my brain and my emotions.  Being on your own is a scary thing, you have a lot to look after; the rent needs to be paid, the house needs to be maintained, groceries have to be bought.  I lie awake and think of all the things that it will take for me to be on my own.  Even though I hate living in a shelter and I have a hard time with having no privacy and having to share everything, there is kind of a relief to living in a shelter.  The only thing that I have to think about is work and getting back on time.  I think this is one of the reasons a lot of homeless people don’t want to leave shelter life, they don’t want to have to worry about the day-to-day stuff.  Also, there is camaraderie in a shelter where when you live by yourself you are truly on-your-own.

I guess the thing that worries me is having freedom.  When you have your own place you have freedom and for some of us that can be a problem.  What do you do with that freedom, does your mind begin to wander, do you get lazy, do you worry constantly.  I worry about these things because this is what my mind has done in the past, I become a different person when I have freedom.  Don’t get me wrong, I want freedom, I really do, but I want to be responsible with it and I want to grow into someone who can have freedom and not abuse it.  I don’t know if I am the only person who feels this way.  My intentions are good, I just want to have will and energy to match my intentions.

So here is what I want to do in my new place: I want to cook good meals, god knows that I eat enough fast food at this point.  I want to treat my apartment as a home, that means that I want to decorate and make it my own in a way that reflects my personality.  I want to rest when I’m tired in my new place, but I don’t want to spend all of my time alone as I have done in the past.   I want my home to smell of candles and nice scents, not the scent of worry and desperation. I think of these things and there is a struggle – I want these things but I don’t know if I can handle these things.  As I pay off past bills and the time gets closer and closer to being on my own, I hope that I will find answers to the fears that I have.  I hope that life will not be so much of a struggle and I hope that I find a place to not only call home, but also be my sanctuary from the storm.



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