The Indomitable Human Spirit

Posted: March 28, 2010 in Random Ramblings

This english assignment I did was one (of two) assignments inspired by a very poignant experience I had one day. I was walking (rolling) down the South Mall in Cork one day. I was passing an area which is a well-known assembly point for the homeless. There was a homeless man (who inspired the character featured in both of these consequent articles) who was talking to his friends, who were also homeless. As I passed, he turned to one of them and said (of me) “poor fella”.
I was astonished by this reaction. For me it was testament to the indomitable human spirit. Here was a man who had nothing to his name but the clothes on his back, yet his spirit was so strong that he was able to regard someone like me, with a disability as being worse off than him. I kept on rolling and said nothing, but a little while along the road I found myself smiling. That man had shown me that no matter how down you are, you can always consider someone else as worse off. In fact I would have always thought that, despite the fact that I’m in a wheelchair, I still have a home and that’s surely something to be happy about!

4 diary entries written by Bob, a homeless person, living on the streets of Cork City.

22nd December 2009
Dear Diary,
I don’t know what the worst thing about sleeping on the side of the road is. It could be the noise. All night people walking by, absolutely hammered, the traffic doesn’t help either, the singing drunks, the roaring cars, none of them conducive to a good night’s sleep. It could equally be the stiffness and pain I feel in my back when I wake up every day. That’s what you get for sleeping on concrete I guess. It’s so bloody cold at this time of the year as well, I wonder why everyone is so happy?

23rd December 2009
Dear Diary,
I’m working hard these days, Christmas is my busy time, the city is full of people. They rush by from shop to shop, spending like there’s no tomorrow, lots of spending means lots of spare change for me though, so I’m not complaining. I’m lucky really to at least have my guitar, I play my heart out every day and hope I don’t break a string. I really don’t need any extra costs now. Thank God I don’t have any presents to buy.

24th December 2009
Dear Diary,
I think it’s getting colder and colder with every day. It worries me, how cold does it have to be before you die from exposure? If I had been able to stay in school I’d have known, of course I probably wouldn’t have had to know then either. But that’s not my life anymore so why even think about it? My life is on the street, it’s counting out the copper coins no one else wants. My life is confiding in you, my only true friend. My life is my music and broken guitar strings. A string snapped today, on the busiest night of the year, a symbol of my broken spirit, I think I’m done. I think this is the end.

25th December 2009
Dear Diary,
I slept under a tree last night. It just reminded me of Christmases I used to know. For some reason that small symbol of happiness and hope, a Christmas tree, made me turn away from the dark waters of the river.
I would have plunged myself into those freezing waters, but someone was watching over me. For the first time in years I cried today. Someone left a backpack for me under the tree as I slept. It was filled with new clothes, blankets and food. In a plastic bag next to that, was a set of guitar strings. It was the best Christmas of my life.

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