I, at one point, was a few days from my little chevy truck being my home, and a local truck stop being the place for eating and showering. But a roof over my head was offered, just in time. I was offered free rent in a nice three-bedroom home, left vacant by a couple who had moved back north to Ohio. I lived there two years. Unable to afford running the air conditioner, I would work in the morning and at night, and rest in the recliner through midday hours, surviving the heat of the day. Once, it was so hot and lacking rain, the grass in the yard smelt burnt, its color dark, burnt-brown. It reminded me of the smell of cooked tobacco, which I, when a youth, would help unstring off sticks before driving it to market to sell. Yet, I and the two dogs, Bandit and St. Francis, enjoyed life together, and I enjoyed my work at the jail as part-time chaplain. I had, at this point, given up on church. I had had enough, and it occurred after a Presbyterian pastor celebrated his church giving money to missions, which he said could help children not go to hell. I waited for a time of prayer; someone prayed, I walked out. I thought as I walked away, "I've had enough!" I could not identify with a church, anyone or anything, that talked of children going to a hell. I wanted no part of that.
Later, I returned home, to where I had been born. I could no longer occupy the home, as another family member was moving in. Back home, I lived in an old tobacco barn, down from the house I was raised in and where my father lived. I called it the Hermitage of Peace. I recall the first night sleeping on the concrete floor, alert to the potential of snakes that might find shelter inside. My dog, Bandit, slept snuggled beside me. I soon found an old, damaged recliner, and that became my bed. Most persons would have thrown it on the dump heap, but it worked for me.
Then, after many months, I returned to school to get a credit in clinical chaplaincy, so I could work again full-time and in hospice. At this time, I was jobless. I got some money out of my retirement, moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and rented a cheap hotel room for the Summer. The floor sank downward when I walked on it, and the neighborhood was such I made sure the door was always locked; but it was home.
After the program was completed and I had not found work, I returned to the barn. I had no internet connection, so I would go to the little town nearby, and I would find a place to connect and apply for jobs, ordering some food to warrant my being there. I was invited to work with the Florida Department of Corrections, as a temporary chaplain, outside a tiny town, more a hole-in-the-road, as persons say from where I was born. No hospice invitations arose. So, I remained for eight months and enjoyed much this position in Lake Butler, Florida. I lived in a small room, barely room for even one person, in Starke, Florida. This was due to needing a month-to-month rental, since I was on temporary status. I never knew when my last day would be the last day there.