I need to tell you about Solomon. A homeless man I met in the dead of night while volunteering at a food distribution programme years ago. I met him once. I spoke to him for maybe an hour but Solomon made a huge impact on my life.
Solomon was part of an informal group of men who lived amongst old bus stops at the old bus station. They had little shelter and just about nothing but the clothes on their backs. There were about 60 people in that bus station huddled into smaller groups of between 6 and 10. Every group had their own little fire and each were sharing their own stories. These smaller groups were probably friends. banding together in the bus station made them safe.
As this was the last stop of the night’s distribution we were asked to stay and visit with the men a bit. I happen to sit in with the group nearest me which was also one of the smallest. There I was introduced to Solomon. I didn’t exactly know what to discuss with him so I reverted to asking about his name and the fact that Solomon was from the bible.
Solomon had little interest in small talk and we quickly went on to talk about a topic which he clearly felt very strongly about “That man Bush” (his words). He was well informed about the war in Iraq and clearly was again it.He went on to tell me about how it was wrong that one man thinks he controls everyone and all “he wants is the oil”. An hour went by very quickly as I listened to a homeless man talk social politics from where he sat on a plastic crate.
I think about Solomon often and am humbled to know that someone like him, who doesn’t really have anything, still takes time to be informed probably by reading the newspapers he sleeps on at night. Despite his situation he takes an active interest in the world which is more than I can say about thousands or people who have Google at their fingertips in cosy homes and offices.
Solomon taught me that you can’t turn your back on anything and you need to talk about what is going on around you because the state of humanity should matter to everyone