Lorenzo Parks has been homeless in Birmingham, Alabama since age 11. Today, he is 54 years old.
He told me that he was not homeless due to breaking bridges or causing problems, but instead because of two questions he asked. One question was to his mother when he was a small child and the second was to God.
“She [mom] used to bring me downtown to go shopping, this day was cold – ice - ice cold, never will forget it,” he explained to me. “I looked over there by this building and there was a group of people laying down with covers on them. I stopped and said mom, can I ask you a question?” He went on to explain the question to his mother, “What are these people laying down with the covers on them?” His mom then said, “These are the folks we call homeless.”
It was not long after that question was asked that his mother passed away in his arms. He later went by the same building as a child and without a parent to watch over him and he noticed that people were still there, still homeless. “I then looked up at the sky and asked what these people go through everyday,” he said to me.
Those were the two questions. One to his mother about the homeless before she passed away and the second to God asking what the homeless go through. Mr. Parks believes those two questions led him to be homeless.
Despite his homelessness, he told me he never asks people for money, never holds a sign, he simply lives. “I have even been to the Holy lands, I went with a church,” he told me with a smile.
His life while homeless has not necessarily been bad and he has perhaps lived more than some of us have.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ― Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright (1854-1900)