By Francisco Gonzalez
I am privileged to have been given a column to write — especially on topics of philosophy… and why philosophy? What does that have to do with Homelessness?
Philosophy is the reason homeless men and women keep on living despite their hardships. They have discovered some gem of meaning that gives them hope: this gem is akin to the Philosopher’s Stone, from which the name of my column is derived.
In the despair of their night, in the embarrassment of a filthy shelter, in the agony of placing children in foster homes, or the giving away of beloved pets, or losing friends to the death-grip of winter—they endure it all because of philosophy; they have learned to turn lead into gold.
This dark night of theirs is important to us; from it will emerge the future of humanity. The meek ones will inherit the earth because once having been stripped of every refinement, of everything which, prior to that, was the world and all that glittered, what remains in them is all that matters to us.
It is true then that to appreciate things you must first lose them; they have come full circle to appreciate a kind word, a glass of water on a hot day, a few coins given without strings, and a genuine smile.
On that future day no one will judge as well as they will judge, and they will surely judge the earth. They will discern what is true from what is false. They will cut the fool and the arrogant down with the gentleness of a simple look & word from which no one can turn from: which will cut them to the soul.
A word which will travel to the ends of the earth, to the wall and corner of reality. All that can be done then is to look squarely into the eyes of love that stood the test of time and did not blink or fold, that did not grow bitter despite a world hell-bent in neglect, hate and materialism.
The people of the future will be like these: the forerunners of a new breed of humanity freed from the dark chrysalis to the light.
The drunks, the crack-heads, the conniving ones that beg, steal and smell bad—they will be first. Never judge anyone, states the native American proverb, unless you first walk a mile in their moccasins.
Do you know the power of addiction? The constant clawing-away of poverty? The emptiness of being fatherless or motherless? The embarrassment of mental illness, of illiteracy, of obesity?
Run then, run as fast and as far away as you possibly can, but it will do you no good—their eyes will find you.