Leading us home: the experience of walking alongside the homeless
By Phil Brennan, Romero Institute, Waterford
The music of the High Hopes Choir captures something universal about the spirit of the homeless. Hope triumphs in those very situations that threaten its existence. No matter how cruel life may have been, no matter how broken and impoverished they may be; they retain their decency and their humanity. Against the odds, their spirit remains unsubdued. Their smile, their kindness, their infectious humour shines all the brighter against a darkened backdrop. Their song soars long after the last note has been sung. They are our beacon, guiding us home.
I am slowly realising that we cannot come to know the people on the margins from a safe distance. Walking alongside the homeless has led me into the inner depths of my own being. There I have discovered the indivisible union between me and those singing before me. We are one. Maybe it’s that I know only too well what it feels like to be broken, to lose everything, to slip up, to fall short… only when we come to know the homeless as friends, when we share the most precious gift of all, our time, with them, do we come to see in them the reflection of our truest selves. Radical solidarity with people living in the shadows calls for nothing less.