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  • Writer's pictureAnneMaree Higgins

Homelessness. 'Jim's story' Insights from the songwriter #4

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

It's always that uncomfortable feeling. You care because you're a good human being but its hard to see someone on the street and in the next few seconds, you are about to have to make the walk past them to get to your destination. Your brain flashes with thoughts like, 'Oh so sad' and 'I wonder if I can sneak past?', even, 'I am justified hurrying away cause I am late for my meeting' or perhaps you do open your heart on the approach, 'Ok I'll see if I've got some change.' You might even wonder if they are contagious or sick or even violent. The pit of your stomach still whines about which choice you will ultimately make and the awkwardness in which you step makes the whole experience disconcerting but so familiar. If only you had a bit more warning.

Well, I had that same experience many times whilst I went out partying with my friends in my 20's, especially once the bands had stopped playing. Like anyone, I ignored some who were homeless, (probably safer as a young women) but one man in particular stood out. The guys had more courage and they approached him and asked him how his night was going. And so, it wasn't uncommon that 'Jim' would be in that same place every Sat night, for a while at least and we got to chat on many occasions. 'Jim' was unassuming and humble. He had some former life as an English professor and something had gone horribly wrong in his life which brought him to the steps of a classy women's boutique in the moonlight. The song below, 'Anonymous Man' came to me a few years later because I wanted to honour his struggle and give hope to other people who find themselves on the street that people do care. We must be challenged to sit with you, speak to you and bring you back from being 'Anonymous' with a joke, a smile, a feed or a lead to a community org that can help.

Now in these pandemic weeks and months, as the year starts to roll over, we are challenged once again to make sure our most vulnerable are cared for and protected. This is harder because we are personally struggling ourselves with Covid. It's hard to love one another but it is essential for us and even perhaps a way to make us all that bit more human than robotically serving our higher wants. I do believe that their distressing disguise is really an invitation to see the Christ in others and treat them as you would like to be treated in the event that the tables were turned. Please subscribe and click the bell at Mass for Living you tube to support the music, Oh and please play it in your classroom of life. xx Cheers, Anne Maree:)

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