Hearts & Minds - Information for ChangeSM

Personal Experience with Homelessness

Photo of Gary on a cruise, taken by, Debbie, his wifeGary Hyink is generally happy now, but life wasn't always easy for him...

I have heard it said that, "Poverty will come upon you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."* Well, it happened to me.

I had a major stroke in December  1986. It left me impoverished by $42,000 in medical bills. I lost the use of my left arm and now have permanent brain damage, which continues to negatively impact my life and body in many ways on a daily basis. Epilepsy is now only one of my life's many challenges.

I became homeless. I was forced to sell my blood for money, eat from food lines to survive, sleep at the Salvation Army, and seek medical care from the "poor people's" hospital:

1988 by Gary Hyink

My world fell apart the other day.
A personal tragedy tore my world away.
I was once so comfortable and secure.
My life is now a constant blur.
Family times and days well spent
Are now replaced by cold, hard cement.
I never meant for it to be this way,
A personal tragedy tore my world away.
It's kind of you to help me when you do.
Maybe you realize it could happen to you.

It was a painful blessing. I met many wonderful, caring people I never would have met otherwise. That's how I met my wife. We met in the singles' Sunday school class at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. We celebrated our 12th-year wedding anniversary March 11, 2007.

I see people every day on the street in the same situation I was in - homeless and trying to survive as best as they can.

I read that, "The Lord sends poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap" (I Samuel 2:7-8, NIV). I know that for all that I went through, it was worth it to meet all the friends I have made along the way.Photo of author Gary Hyink and his two kittens

Gary Hyink is now married. He also shares his home with two fluffy cats.             

Often the poor and needy aren't a priority in our society. The shame of it is that the homeless and poor are people just like you and me. In today's fast-paced world, it could happen to you tomorrow. Please think about this when you see someone in need. He or she probably didn't choose to be that way.


Here is a poem I wrote in 1980 when I was in the United States Air Force and stationed in the Philippines. A friend, Sharon, wrote me and touched my heart when she shared some personal struggles she was going through.

Mankind's Prayer
1980 by Gary Hyink

So close in thought I wish to be
With someone who can hear
My heart's sad cry, its silent weep,
Caused from despair, I fear.
For life is often so hard to take,
It deals such a painful blow,
Then no one is there with whom to share,
No one who wants to know.
For everyone has their problems too,
Enough gloom and despair of their own.
They have no time for me to share
My thoughts I so want known.
I pray the day will quickly come,
The day when I will see
The person who will always listen,
And with all their heart love me.

Often, people I share this poem with tell me it is good, but depressing. I think they miss the point, so let me share it with you. One of the desires of our heart is to love and be loved. Naturally we look to other people to fulfill this desire. They often fail to meet our needs, and this has led to countless personal tragedies. I believe that only God can perfectly fulfill this desire He has placed in us. I found from personal experience that He is always available to us in prayer. He'll listen and answer them. He answered mine in mighty ways and continues to do so. For that I thank Him.

Thank You Lord
1988 by Gary Hyink

Thank you, Lord, for your grace to me.
Please help me in all that I do.
Help me be who you would have me be,
So on my life's purpose I may start.
I need your guidance every day.
Life is often so hard for me.
I often stumble or go the wrong way.
Sometimes I'm blind and do not see,
Or speak the words you would have me say.
Thank you Lord for your grace to me.
Please help me in all that I do.
Help me be who you would have me be,
So I may praise you for all eternity.

Life is hard. Hang in there, if you're struggling. Ask the Lord for help. Have faith, because if He is willing to bless me,  I'm sure that He is willing to bless you as well.

          Personal story and poetry by Gary R. Hyink

          *Quote at top: Proverbs 6:11, NIV

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Website Copyright: 1997 - 2015 by Hearts and Minds Network, Inc. http://www.heartsandminds.org/articles/homegary.htm - online 1998, latest changes April 26, 2012

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