If it weren't for the gutter, my mind would be homeless.
Not in that way. Sure, a 'mind in the gutter' can refer to a penchant for dirty jokes and raunchy comebacks, but I'm talking about something else.
The gutter is on the street. Specifically, the gutter is where the trash goes that didn't make it into the garbage. The gutter is where all the unwanted junk and discarded rubbish collects, blighting the neighborhood and, often, getting blown wherever the wind takes it.
The gutter is where things get ugly: tossed furniture ages in the elements, toys take on a grimy film that gets increasingly hard to wash off. The gutter is where rain water turns into sewage before being washed underground.
Like a giant, unwashed, stuffed unicorn, I didn't start off in the gutter, but the den. Pulled along as a toy by a petulant woman-child running from home, I was brought from the drug den to the gutter - just in the nick of time.
What an odd sense of timing God has, because it's any wonder how that emotionally stunted, self-absorbed meth addict didn't lose me along the way.
In that gutter, one not so unlike many other gutters, were some collectors of precious items - servants of God that were compelled by His teachings and example to go out into the "highways and biways", to which gutters belong, to minister to, care for, and help mend and repair the poor and broken as they are able.
Reflecting on my childhood now, I can see the privilege I had in that gutter, and each subsequent since. What favor did I have with God that, despite being now spotted with age from too much time in the sun, heavy with the exhaustion of street weariness, and coming apart at the seams with stuffing gross from being left out too long in the rain too many times, that my mind is not gone? What grace did I warrant that I have not reverted entirely to the animal nature I could be assumed to have? Nothing that I have done, but I just know that He's got a reason for it.
The Bible says that God won't give us more than we can bear. While I (usually) feel that is true, there have been many periods, and even more moments, that I felt I could not.
Something about the unfairness of life and the tired frustration that accompanies constant struggle has often left me feeling better off dead.
I've never had a real home, so I can only imagine what it must be like, but never really having a home - having gone from the den to the gutter - my mind has had to make its own. Without that, and the people He put in my life that both taught me as much as they knew that I could understand and also gave me the only home training I've known, I don't know where, or whom, I'd be.
I know one thing for sure, that whatever God has planned for my life must be something important - otherwise I'd have (successfully) ended it years ago.