Monday, July 27, 2009

Choosing Homelessness

Increasingly I am hearing stories of men who have chosen homelessness as a way of life. Just the other day I wrote about a man who chooses to live in a cave in Utah. Today on NPR I was struck by the story of Richard Leroy Rogers who died with an estate worth $4 million, and yet he lived his retirement years without a permanent home. As one acquaintance said about him, "He just gave up all of the material things that we think we have to have," Belle says. "You know, I don't know how we gauge happiness. What's happy for you might not be happy for me. I never heard him complain."

I can imagine that having $4 million dollars makes living homeless less tense. But maybe not. He had very few possessions. He used his money minimally. Perhaps the fear that I imagine underpins homelessness is dismantled by facing life in each moment. After all, fear can underpin a life filled with possessions just as well.

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