The pastor, Paul’s, voice was thrown from the ceiling speakers. Dave stared into space. Paul spoke about the power of confession. The cleansing and healing that comes when we confess to another person. Dave sat. A 1000 yard stare. He looked lost. Distant. Like someone who could not see beyond the miles of brokenness that led him to this moment.
We never saw Dave before. We offered Dave something to drink and food to eat. The state trooper who was taking a break from shadeless shade tree outside discovered Dave was homeless. Dave didn’t look homeless. He just looked lost.
A home is a place of safety and security. A home is place of comfort. A home is place where we belong. A home can be anywhere we feel these things. When get to where we can’t feel these things, we’re homeless.
We are all homeless sometimes. Those moments we feel we have no where to take shelter or comfort from our sadness, our pain, our guilt, our anger. Those times we know (or insist) that no one will understand how we feel.
Maybe there’s something you’ve done you feel you can’t tell someone else. Maybe you have a nagging sense of loneliness that comes from a place inside you that has no name or reason. Maybe you’ve never known your father and you feel abandoned even when your mom, wife and children show you that you’re not. Maybe you feel you don’t belong.
Maybe you have a calling that you turn a deaf ear to. Maybe you keep the safe job, the safe life while you die a little each day. Maybe you feel trapped and you don’t know how to change where you are.
Maybe you’re fighting with your God or anyone’s God who will listen to just gain the slightest understanding about suffering, pain, or injustice you or a loved one is experiencing. Maybe you’re so angry with someone that you can’t see past your pain to see theirs. Maybe you committed a sin you think no one, not even God, can forgive.
Maybe you’ll be a parent soon and you wonder how you’re going to pull it off. Maybe you’re fighting desperately to help your child when nearly everything is out of your control.
Maybe you’re gay and you don’t know how to tell your friends or parents. Maybe you’re in an affair and don’t know how to get out. Maybe you’ve been molested, raped or beaten and bearing that truth to someone else is a blinding mass of shame that weighs more than you think you can ever lift.
Maybe you’ve run out of money, bread, meat, beer, cigarettes or whiskey and worry where will the next come from. Maybe it’s just a bad day that throws you off. Or maybe it’s something else.
Any one of these situations can lead you to feeling lost. Lost in fear, doubt, uncertainty. Lost without a home.
What are you getting lost in today? How badly do you want to be found? How badly do you want to be home.
The best way for me to be found is to open my mouth. It’s easy to forget to open my mouth though. Or sometimes I’m too stubborn or afraid.
I don’t have many regrets in my life. The one’s I have haunt me. They are simple regrets. The most common one is when I can be the ear for someone, a soul they can bear themselves to, a relationship that can provide comfort … even if it’s temporary … and I don’t do it.
I smiled at Dave today. I offered bread. I asked him a little about himself while I stood behind a counter. I felt the nudging to go sit next to him and have a real conversation. A nudging I ignored. That was my calling for the day. I turned a deaf ear. And in that I find myself lost. In that I find myself without a home.
Other confessions for me: I curse, a lot. I look at other women and my wife catches me. It hurts her. I still do it. I bought a big bottle of beer and two bottles of sake to drown my feeling overwhelmed on Saturday – they’re sitting in my fridge unopened. Some days, ‘One day at a time’ is too long – this morning I had to go 15 minutes at a time. My cousin’s in the hospital after a very serious surgery. I want to talk to him. I haven’t called. I don’t know what to say. I involved myself with many married women over the years. Now I’m involved with just one – she’s my wife. I’m not proud of these things. Confessions rarely tell what we’re proud of. But these things are part of my past. I’d rather admit them humbly than hide them and hide from them.
There’s my confession. The confession frees me to be found. It frees me to see. It frees me to walk. It frees me to go home.
What do you have to confess to set yourself free? Speak the words. Free yourself. Find your way home.