I was living in my car in a parking garage in North Carolina. I had recently gotten kicked out of the house of a female friend, so I had some time to reflect on my life.
I was upset, but I didn’t let it get the best of me. It began to storm that night. I thanked God that I had a car in which to sleep. Earlier I was walking around downtown Winston Salem, NC and I had passed by many homeless people. They didn’t have cars to sleep in and they didn’t seem to have any peace. I’ve worked in homeless shelters before so my pride didn’t allow me to go to one. I was in a homeless state.
I slept in my car for the next week. I thanked God that I had enough peace to sleep. Then I began to think about all the places I had slept in my life: my home in Detroit, my grandparents house in Chicago, my grandparents house in Mississippi, the roach infested crack houses in Detroit when I ran away, a hammock in the Jungles of Panama, on a cot by the side of an airfield in Kismayu, Somalia, my $270,000 house in Puyallup, WA, on a mountain side in Germany, my $150,000 home in Tacoma, in a sleeping bag in a tent on Fort Drum in NY, and on the cold rain-soaked ground in Georgia during basic training. I was thankful that no matter where I slept God was with me and He didn’t sleep. I was in the sleep state.
I was alone all by myself–no family or friends. I started to think back to what is was like to be married. To have someone waiting on me when I came home. I thought about living in Detroit with all my family members and my network of friends. I thought about living in the barracks with 200 other men. If I got lonely there was always someone I could go visit. I was thankful for all the friends I’d made in my life. I was in the lonely state.
I started to think about the $53.00 I had in my pocket. I thanked God for it, then I began to think about the money I’d had at one time. I had had over $16,000 in the bank at one time, and I had had negative $700.00, and everything in between. I thought of what I spent my money on at the time and if it a wise decision. Then I was thankful for being God’s child because His bank accounts are always full. I thanked God that I had the money to pay for a parking spot. I was living in the lack of money state.
Earlier that day, I was looking for food. The parking garage I stayed in was located between two hotels connected by a skywalk. I would go down to the desk every afternoon to partake of the cookies and tea for the hotel guests. I would check the trash cans in the parking lots. People would park there after being on the road for a few days and they would clean out their cars. I would find leftover fast food–sometimes fresh and sometimes not so fresh. Then I began to think about all the places I have eaten. I’ve eaten meals in four star restaurants; I’ve walked through hotels and eaten the leftovers off room service trays. I’ve eaten dehydrated pork and beef patties in MRE’s and I have eaten out of dumpsters behind grocery stores and, on occasion, my neighbor’s trashcans. I always thanked God that I found stuff to eat. I was living in the lack of food state.
I began to think about my trip to North Carolina. It was not a planned trip. I just got in my car and drove. I started to think about all the states I’ve lived in: Michigan, Illinois, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, Munich, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and of course Washington. I was living in the state of North Carolina.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Philippians 4:11 -14