|He passed away ten feet from where I stood to capture this image weeks ago.|
I saw a man laying dead on the wet ground this morning.
But whether he is now alive or dead forever I do not know.
I had stepped out unusually early, still in my pajamas and a heavy sweater, to get something for someone.
As I step onto the curb from crossing the street, I notice someone I had seen the day before still in the same place.
I looked for signs of breathing, but the breath of life had left him some time ago.
I stepped over to him and prayed as I have been taught to do in such circumstances.
When I saw him from across the street yesterday, I figured he had a long night of drinking and found that spot to rest for a while.
Seeing him now here in the same place, through a night of consistent rain, bothered me profoundly.
I became emotional.
I walk over to someone sweeping a neighboring commercial parking lot and ask him if he had a phone on him, adding that there is a man who is not with us any longer.
The man goes over to take a look, and recognizes him as a man who frequented that location.
He hands me his cell phone to make the call.
I don't have a cell phone; got rid of it years ago for various reasons.
After explaining the situation to the woman on the other line of the emergency call, and answering the series of questions she's reading from / has memorized, I am patched through to the fire department.
Another series of questions answered.
A man joins us.
He is young and also homeless as was the man laying down, but now the man I found resides elsewhere.
The young man recognizes him as well, recalling a moment in time a few days ago how this very man, now laying here before the three of us, was excited to have spoken to a woman (or that the woman had responded and acknowledged him).
I understand this partially.
Partially because I have never been in such a situation.
The part I do understand is that very often homeless people are ignored by the general public.
By denying their existence, by refusing to acknowledge they share the same space and breathe the same air as all of us, is similar to a form of hate and spite I think.
It should then be of no surprise when people who have lost a place to call home somehow lose a grip on reality, being now treated less importantly the animals people call pets.
Have you noticed how people are quick to rescue a stray dog or cat?
But our very brothers and sisters, although strangers by face, are ignored as if they were animals, while the animals some desire to 'save' have people falling over themselves to help them.
Perhaps if the animals would speak, as the homeless grow silent, then people would realize the condition of our 'modern' societies and our lack of apathy...me included, ashamedly.
This man came to rest on the property of a 'church', a few feet from the bus stop.
There is a wall that surrounds the church property, but it goes in a few feet where the parking would be; a section of dirt with a tree...this man's final resting place.
I did not recognize the man by face, but my heart recognizes the humanity, the image of God, and my heart feels pain for this man.
The hope I have, though not knowing him personally, is that somehow this man knew God Almighty...and that the Almighty knew this man and holds him now in love and light.