I met "Senior" when I was passing out cheeseburgers during Lent in San Antonio. My friend, Sam and I, fasted during lent then took the money we would have spent and bought as many McDonald's cheeseburgers we could each Friday in Lent. After a few weeks of doing this we got to know a couple of the people who lived downtown San Antonio. One of those men went by the nickname, "Senior" because he had lived there the longest. Apparently, it is a less a name and more a rotating title so that when the one "Senior" died or moved on there was a new "Senior".
I cannot recall the birth name of this current incarnation of Senior but I do recall his out of control mustache. It was roughly a collection of fifteen thin hairs all caked together and more or less pushed to one side of his top lip. He joked and called it his "comb over". It was the oddest facial hair I have ever seen.
Senior shared a lot of stories that I don't recall and frankly only understood about 1/4 of what he said. Truthfully, it was not so much how he spoke that was the main problem but of my anxiety to "move on" to the get the burgers to the next person. I regret that I was not present to where I needed to be. A lesson that I still am trying to learn.
One thing that Senior told Sam and I that impressed upon us both was that there is a difference in being homeless and being houseless. Senior said that he had been houseless for about fifteen years, but never homeless. He knew some people who were homeless, but most of his friends were only houseless.
It is one perspective of one man that may not be affirmed by anyone else, but it seems to me there is a bit of wisdom in Senior's words.
While I have not passed out cheeseburgers recently, it remains clear to me that people need houses. On the flip side, there are a good number of people who have a house but are homeless. May we have the courage to address both these conditions and the humility to not see them as one in the same.