mornings with the homeless always remind you about the meaning of life.
Curtis, a friend who lives under a bridge downtown, told me about how he ended up on the street. We’ve become good friends. Like me, he grew up with a father who was absent and dealing with issues of his own. Curtis chased the love of his father and eventually stole an awesome shiny car one day, in an attempt to find him.
In his mind he was headed to California where his father had moved.
Now for those of you who read this and simply are appalled by someone who steals a car – let me tell you; desire pulls us to do crazy things. You may not have stolen a car, but if you’ve ever lusted after another human, or a cupcake, or something you just didn’t need, you might know what I’m referring to.
The desire for the love of a father, is like a magnet. It’s as if you’re being pulled inside yourself, inside out.
Most of the people who are homeless are there because they never reconciled what happened to them as a child. They are not free.
I remember feeling upside down, before I realized that God was my father. But then I got free and stopped struggling to understand human failings. Humans sometimes disappoint. We can’t always understand why.
So Curtis was driving the shiny new car down the pacific Coast highway. Sun was shining, waves crashing against the shore. “It was the most beautiful drive in the world, Tammy. I had fallen in love with this car. was so happy, so joyful. Going to find my father.”
His father was a rejecting person. He’d left the kids and his wife early on, and never stayed in contact. Curtis said he was almost there, driving, and felt happy and free! He saw a police car speed by with sirens on, and then several, and a roadblock up ahead. He said he thought: “Wow, they must be looking for a bad criminal.”
Curtis kept on driving. Not a criminal, but a free man, a little boy, with the wind blowing through his hair. Ahead, the police captured him, and he served over a decade in jail. When he was released, he ended up on the streets of Dallas.
“But how come it didn’t occur to you to think the police were after you?” I asked.
“I was just so happy and free. and I was on a mission. I was almost there.”
See, I believe that the desire for freedom and wholeness causes us to do strange things. The desire to know who we are and where we came from can be powerful, and powerfully destructive. People get wounded, and have a hard time living without answers. So we seek them, or seek to cover the pain with the wrong things. Like Curtis, sometimes we just want to take a ride, to be free, with the wind blowing through our hair.