inspired by students
Sunday 10th April 2016 @ 10:58 am
Many students around Trinity inspire me a lot … but this story is by one student.
She came into my office 10 days ago, and said, “I can’t come to the Breathe prayer space tomorrow, so I want to answer the question now,” I asked, “What question?” She responded, “The question at the Breathe prayer time … where have you seen God this week? I can’t go tomorrow, so I want to answer it now.”
She answered the question.
And I asked her to write it down.
Because it wasn’t enough for her to experience it, or for me to hear it. I wanted you to hear it too.
She sent it. And she say’s it OK for me to tell you about it. These are her words …
I got into a verbal fight with someone that I held very close to my heart. Things escalated to violence, with me being grabbed by my bag and thrown against a wall. Soon things died down, the individual asked me to punch them twice but I had shut down by then and stopped responding, so they left me crying at a bus stop near Merrion Square. Many people walked by me, men in suits, a group of women off to a party perhaps. Some stared, others gave me angry looks, as if I should be ashamed of crying in public.
I felt like the most degraded individual to have ever lived. Ive never felt so small in my whole life. Suddenly, a man’s voice, a bit timid, came from beside me and asked for the time. It belonged to a man named Christopher, as I was soon to find out. Through my tears I told him it was around 9 o clock. He looked at me strangely, and asked if I was ok. I looked at him, and burst in to more tears and told him I wasn’t close to being alright. He listened to everything, told me I was going to be ok, he didn’t judge me in the slightest. Telling him my problems made me realise the true reality of my situation.
You see, Christopher is homeless. He told me about how he was in foster care as a child, how his family let him down, how he moved to England for a short while and then came back. How he is now wandering Baggot Street, living in a derelict house, living off items supplied by the soup runs, how he fears for his life every waking minute. How he doesn’t drink or do drugs, how he wants to learn to read and write at the age of 37. He made me realise how much I took for granted. I began to think of how privileged I am, that no matter what, I was going home to by warm bed, that I have my college and a family who support me. I cried then for him, as I realised how truly lucky I am.
To think of everything I had in comparison to Christopher made me feel so spoilt, so ungrateful and so very ignorant. I offered Christopher everything, a hostel stay, tobacco, food, a warm drink, money, but he refused everything. He showed me a sandwich and a coffee he had gotten, along with a new sleeping bag and said that was all he needed. I told him it didn’t matter if he lied and was on drugs or anything, I just wanted him to be happy. “I’m happy just sitting here talking to you” he said “I get very lonely on my own, sometimes I think of ending it all. But then you turned up. And honestly that’s made my day”.
This is a beautiful story, but it’s not beautiful if nothing happens. We hugged. We said Goodbye. I got the last bus home.
As of now, thousands of people like Christopher are wandering Ireland, ignored and shunned by people like me, like us. In this world of hate, violence and war, I feel that it is even more important to realise that we are all just people, regardless of ethnicity, social status or income. We all need help, we all need someone to talk to. “Love thy neighbour” says the Lord.
A couple of days later she came to me, to answer the question, “where have you seen God this week?”
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