You can sleep in your car, but you can’t drive your house to work”-Nashville songwriter
I was once homeless for six hours, after which I decided to live in my car. My $850, 1991 Chrysler New Yorker, with duct tape holding the right headlight in place, would become my new home. After spending a couple of nights parked at a local truck stop to sleep, I attended a bible study. Father Gordon Walker of St. Ignatius Church in Franklin, TN, spoke about gratitude. He said God wants us to be grateful for all things, good and bad. I was at a low point in my life when I heard him say that. All my material possessions were stored in a 10×10 storage unit, except a few books and a guitar I had in my car. With nothing to lose, I figured I should put Father Gordon’s principle to the test. I would be grateful for all the bad in my life, and whatever good was left. Why not?
When I woke up the next morning, I thanked God for a warm and dry place to sleep. After I walked across the truck stop parking lot to use the bathroom, I thanked God the bathroom was clean and I didn’t have to clean it.
I drove 14 miles down route 65 to the recreation center off Concord Road. I thanked God that for three dollars I had my own gym where I could exercise and shower. This gym had all of the latest equipment, was fully staffed to serve me and the facility was spotless. I didn’t even have to pay property taxes on the gym, just three bucks per visit, and I thanked God for that.
Across the street from the rec center was the Brentwood library. I thanked God for the free internet service I was able to use to check my email and do a job search. As glanced over several newspapers, magazines and checked out a few books, I thanked God I didn’t have to work fourteen hours a day to pay the salaries of the staff, and for the subscriptions to the daily and weekly periodicals.
The best part of my day was Radnor Lake. As I hiked up and down the tree lined hills and paths, I took my time. I would admire the serene deer that would eat acorns just three feet off the nature trail, or a duck splashing and playing in the water. I thanked God I wasn’t working in a cubicle, wishing I was outside. As I sat on a park bench that overlooked the lake and the leafy green Tennessee hills, I thanked God I was not Donald Trump. Yes, Donald Trump can buy property like this anywhere in the world, but he was working, and I wasn’t. I was enjoying the things people worked for, not working for things people enjoy. Donald Trump, I love you but, “You’re fired!”.
I made the earth my home. The highways became my hallways. While some homes have a library, I had thousands of libraries scattered around the country. I didn’t have one kitchen, I had hundreds of thousands of fully equipped and staffed restaurants. All of them had a different ambiance and cuisine. And of course, they were staffed, cleaned, and stocked with the freshest food. And I thanked God for that.
Being grateful opened up my mind to the opportunities available in each day. Instead of looking at what I didn’t have, I started looking at what I did have. While living in my car, I learned how to be grateful for good and bad. And I thank God for that.