Three Years a Hobo

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My home for the last thousand plus days.

Last Thursday marked three years that I’ve been doing this hobo thing. Three years since I last kept my books on a bookshelf. Three years since I had a reliable address. Three years since I saw any one person on a daily basis. Three years of deflating air mattresses and sleep deprivation and inconsistent eating habits and interminable drives.

Three years of audiobooks and stunning scenery, of granola bars and gas station coffee. Three years of trying to find an unlocked church and wondering where I’ll spend the night. Three years of awkward hellos and painful goodbyes, of changing trains in Brussels and changing oil in Missouri.

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Like sweet Emma, who wrote me a note asking that I would pray for her to become a saint. She’s 12.

Three years of visiting dear old friends and being loved well by people who really know me. Three years of making new best friends out of strangers who happened to see a Facebook post. Three years of walking with people through the hardest moments of their lives and rejoicing with them in the most beautiful.

I’m there for the highs and the lows and many of the in-betweens. I’m privileged to see the Holy Spirit at work and to witness the power of Divine Providence. I’ve stayed in well over a hundred homes and never once had to get a hotel room.1

I’ve learned to trust (kind of). I’ve learned that I’m worth something even when I’m doing nothing. I’ve learned to listen to the Holy Spirit like never before. I’ve learned the power of homelessness to remind us that this world is not our home.

The Darr family knows how to pray. For serious.

The Darr family knows how to pray. For serious.

I’ve seen incredible communities and desperate loneliness. I’ve witnessed deep faithfulness and radical complacency. I’ve felt admired and ignored and abhorred and adored and disdained and accepted and misunderstood and loved.

I’ve started a blog and a speaking ministry and a podcast and a new book project. I’ve been to 49 states and 12 countries and put almost 100,000 miles on my car.

Every day I’m grateful that you all let me love you. It’s not always easy, trying to be for someone different each day of the week with no idea who I’ll walk with tomorrow. But you’ve given me far more than I’ve given you. Thank you for your prayers and invitations, your words of encouragement and your Facebook shares. Thank you for inviting me into your homes and your lives, from London and Rome to Hicksville and Butte.

Has anyone ever looked that good at the end of a half marathon before? She looks better after 12 miles than I would have after 12 yards.

Has anyone ever looked that good at the end of a half marathon before? She looks better after 12 miles than I would have after 12 yards.

Cheering at the OKC marathon a few weeks back got me thinking: that’s basically what I do. I stand at the margins of strangers’ lives and scream for them to keep running. There are some who ignore me and some who grimace and others who step up their game when I beg them to. If you’re one of the ones who started running again after I stumbled through the words I thought you needed, thank you. I’m so grateful that the Lord lets me be a part of your path to him.

I have no idea how much longer this will go on. Some days it feels like it’s really beginning to wear on me. More often I lament that my life is far too easy; you don’t become a saint without suffering, after all. And while I have a marvelous extended community, it’s not the kind of community that rubs off your rough edges through daily annoyances. There’s a reason people don’t live like this, and it’s not just that nobody else is as extraverted as I am. It’s that people need stability and community and home. So while I’ve been given all kinds of grace to endure–more, to adore–an unnatural life, spring has me longing for a little old house surrounded by lilacs and filled with people who know me well.

Maybe I can steal my nieces and nephews.

Maybe I can steal my nieces and nephews.

And yet this life is good. And no place in particular tugs at my heart. So the pilgrim life continues. Jesus accomplished what he had to do in three years as a hobo missionary. It seems I’m less efficient. So right now we’ll aim for three and a half and regroup come December. Between now and then, I’ve got the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut2, Toronto, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland3, St Louis, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. So, you know the drill. If you’re in (or between–Washington to Texas is not a day’s drive) any of those places, drop me a note and I’ll come be your friend.

 

(Here’s what I had to say after two years, 15 months, and one year.)

  1. Though when people book them for me, I spend weeks looking forward to a little space to myself! []
  2. Anyone live between Hartford and Springfield, MA and want a houseguest? []
  3. Please! []

About Meg

I'm a Catholic, madly in love with the Lord, His Word, His Bride the Church, and especially His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. I'm committed to the Church not because I was raised this way but because the Lord has drawn my heart and convicted my reason. After 2 degrees in theology and 5 years in the classroom, I quit my 9-5 to follow Christ more literally. Since May of 2012, I've been a hobo for Christ; I live out of my car and travel the country speaking to youth and adults, giving retreats, blogging, and trying to rock the world for Jesus.
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12 Responses to Three Years a Hobo

  1. Maia says:

    Oregon is on the list! Yes DO come see us!
    Maia recently posted…notes from the booth…My Profile

  2. Rose Sutton says:

    Meg, I’m here at Quantico, VA, from CWOC. You are welcomed in my home any day. Just shoot me a message if you need a place to stay.
    Safe travels and God bless you,
    Rose Sutton

  3. TJ Pillari says:

    Where are you going to be in OH?

  4. Matt says:

    Way to go, Meg! There’s always a room for you in Chicago!
    Matt recently posted…Faith, Hope and TechnologyMy Profile

  5. Kayla says:

    Ms. HK,
    So incredibly proud of you and the difference you have and are making in countless people’s life. I am honored to have been your student and friend. If you will be driving through anytime please let me know. I’d love to see you!

  6. Kimberly says:

    Meg, you are such an inspiration!
    I met you when you visited St. John’s Summer Program two summers ago when I was a new convert to Catholicism, and since then I have gotten married and we are having our first child in a couple of months. My husband is in the military, so I am looking forward to being a very particular kind of hobo (military wife), especially in the next year when we will be moving fairly often; and even before now I came from an abusive family, so I experienced the kind of homelessness that comes with your dwelling place not being a home at all. I am telling you all this because embracing my recent vocation, standing up for it to lots of naysayers and people who are determined to tell me that being a wife and a mother is a sad thing to do with your youth, and explaining what I do all day has been really difficult, and has forced me to come to terms with the idea that I am valuable even if I am “doing nothing” according to society. I have enjoyed seeing your posts and updates on facebook because they give me hope about the joy that a person can find in an unconventional lifestyle, and in the companionship of God even when the world seems lonely–and how He comforts us through unexpected encounters with strangers.
    I will be praying for your continued adventures! Thank you for your insights and tenacious example.
    God Bless,
    Kimberly

  7. Lianna says:

    Praise God for your willingness to follow wherever He leads you! He will continue to give you the grace for this work for as long as He wills it. 🙂
    Lianna recently posted…Happy Pentecost!My Profile

  8. Sylvia G says:

    Wow! You are truly amazing. I wish I had one tenth of your passion. My husband, myself and our two kids took a three year journey through North America while we homeschooled and he worked from wherever we happened to be. And it does get tiresome, but the memories are priceless, albeit we weren’t doing it for such magnanimous reasons. Blessings to you always.

  9. Breana says:

    Yay, you’re coming to California! Would love to meet you. (:
    Breana recently posted…#SummerSaturdays or Doing Youtube AgainMy Profile

  10. Anna says:

    If you don’t have a place to stay in Nebraska (Omaha) yet, we’ve got space (and five kids, just to warn you)!

  11. Lauren says:

    So what’s this about Louisiana!? 🙂
    Lauren recently posted…If Crabs Weren’t InvolvedMy Profile

  12. Tina says:

    I’m a fan! Love reading your blog!
    Would love to meet you in California(if you haven’t already been here)! I was late reading your post.

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