Did His Thoughts Enslave Him? A Ten Commandments’ Passover Tale

this post is about homelessness. please read.

growing up, our aunt, my mom’s sister, traditionally hosted the first night passover seder. as she and her husband, my uncle, lived up in the hills. we had to take a thirty minute drive up a canyon for the meal. the destination was not public transportation friendly.

for many years, our family had a pre-passover traditition. my father was tasked with giving our uncle’s nephew a ride to the seder. waiting for him to come to our house was part of our holiday ritual. his name was mark.

mark was homeless. while he dressed appropriately, usually a suit jacket and dress shirt. he sort of had a smell. we shared the back seat with him and we were subjected to a good wiff for about 30 minutes. he never caused us to be late. he was always respectful. there was never any drama involved with the ride.

during the drive, he would update us on his life and we would ask questions. every year, we heard tales of how he tried to succeed in life but fell short. he was a unique individual. he was polite. he never used foul language. he told us about his unreasonable expectations and how things never worked out. he believed that if he got his license to practice law, all would change.

mark was intelligent. he had graduated law school but was never able to pass the bar. he told us stories of how he did paralegal work for an attorney. he, however, could not find satisfaction with respect to it. he appeared to have an overinflated self worth. he was not willing to accept his reality and make the best of it. as a result, nothing ever worked out. he, at best, could have simply become a full time paralegal. he, however, could never accept the fact that he never was going to pass the bar and become a lawyer.

most of these rides were done while i was still in high school and before i attended college and studied psychology.

the family mystery was how could someone this intelligent and educated end up as a homeless person? we often discussed it but had no explanation. how could someone have endless excuses for their failures and never was willing to accept his station in life? why did he not accept being a paralegal and make a good living?

he was someone who did get help. it, however, did not make a difference. my aunt and uncle helped him and place him in a program that provided him housing and assistance.

in writing this story, i perhaps solved the mystery. mark must have suffered from a form asperger’s syndrome. his particular form of the mental illness perhaps prevented him from accepting his reality.

the word came down that mark died. homelessness and diabetes proved to be a fatal combination.

the time and observation with mark led me to the conclusion that there were some people who simply cannot help themselves from being homeless. their unrealistic expectations trap them into a life of homelessness. mark’s uniqueness was that appeared to not appear to not have substance abuse issue. thus, mental illness was his likely problem. other homeless people i have encountered maintain unrealistic expectations. they, however, combine this belief with substance abuse; a toxic combination.

in sum, homelessness is a far more complicated issue than simply providing individuals housing. homeless maintaining unrealistic expectations will never accept the world as it is. they cannot accept the need to work, they cannot accept the need to live by rules. thus, the housing, in and of itself, is not the problem. housing such individuals will not solve their underlying pathology. for these particular individuals, this is the true challenge that must be addressed.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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