I was driving past the Royal Liverpool hospital a few days ago. We stopped at the traffic lights. It was approaching lunchtime, the street was busy with people rushing to coffee shops and cafes. I waited for the lights to change, and absentmindedly looked around me.
In a side street, a man was laying on the ground. He was being treated by three paramedics. They were trying to save his life. A few people had stopped and were watching. The paramedics were working quickly, doing everything they could for him. I stared at his face. He seemed asleep. His tent and belongings were piled against a wall.
The lights changed, we had to move on. All day I thought about him. I hope he’s o.k.. I hope they got him into the hospital. I hope …
That night I thought I would look on the local newspaper site, just to see if anything was mentioned about him. ‘Man saved in front of the hospital!’ ‘Miracle on Moira Street!’
But no, the man had died.
He had been found in his tent, unresponsive. People had walked past, going about their business, myself included. The article said that he was only forty, he was a dad – a good one- and as one of his friends said, ‘life had just got the better of him’.
A statue was unveiled in the grounds of Liverpool Parish Church – St.Nicholas – this week. It’s called ‘Homeless Jesus’. Casts of it have been seen around the world, Vatican City and New York included. The actual statue has come to rest here. I wanted to see it. I’m not religious at all, but it is very moving. There is space at the end of the bench for someone to sit. The question posed is, ‘Would you sit next to a homeless person? Would you sit next to a homeless Jesus?’
Some people wouldn’t even stop for a man dying on the street, and that is the saddest thing. We seem to have a forgot what compassion is. Life can get the better of any of us.