You’re Stronger Than You Know

If you’re homeless, blind with fear and sick down to your soles, broken down and so alone you want to crawl out of your skin and be someone else, somewhere else, look my way and know: I’m that voice that flows from your heart that says you’re stronger and more than you know.

If You’re Homeless

by J. Fernandez

If you’re homeless, blind with fear and sick down to your soles, broken down and so alone you want to crawl out of your skin and be someone else, somewhere else, look my way and know: I’m that voice that flows from your heart that says you’re stronger and more than you know. That you’re a dream still unfolding and turning in sweet pain towards the light.

Look my way and know, in your thoughts, your blood and nerve endings, I’m the fire that makes your soul shine. And that you’re all of us — each of us — who struggles every day to find light in the darkness.

Look my way and know, most of all know, that you are and have always been and will always be the beloved.

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Yeshua

by J. Fernandez

I woke to Jesus this morning. Kept me up half the night. Not the Jesus made in Hollywood. Not the one with manicured fingernails on my mother’s living room wall. Not even the one in the Bible.

I’m talking about my Jesus: the dream-eyed, wooly haired, beautiful Palestinian Jew, the revolutionary we rarely hear about. The one born to Mary and Joseph in Nazareth by the sea of Galilee, who had a mysterious love for wood and words, who bled real tears and blood and healed real wounds, except his own. And who was so full of God, so powerful in God, that when he spoke, he was like no one before or after him.

Yes, I’m talking about the one, the only one known as Yeshua to his people, the one who cried love, spoke love, and who died for loving love, humiliated and tortured, nailed to a Roman cross. And yet tonight, up and down centuries of blood, I hear his freedom song, and see hands holding up the sky calling his name:

Yeshua                   Yeshua                           Yeshua

So strong the poor oak table trembles and poets everywhere reach for the root of his song: words that flower and flow, and only grow. How they grow!

Holiday Home (Luke 16: 25). Artwork by Jos Sances. A homeless man finds no home in this scene reminiscent of Thomas Kinkade’s art.

“Holiday Home (Luke 16: 25).”  Artwork by Jos Sances. A homeless man finds no home in this scene reminiscent of Thomas Kinkade’s art.

 

The Gift

by J. Fernandez

The woman with the silver hair, worn and frail, sits at her window and sees everything, all the time listening to the blind and homeless harmonica man play the blues in the rain, bursting with the wild-eyed colors of a love-hungry ghost, the shivering howl of an isolated human being.

Now screaming, now whispering, now praying, “Lord, here I am. Here I am,” while leaves stream down the street as silent and as indifferent as the world, except for the woman with the silver hair.

She hears the plea and knows too well the silence and aloneness of aging, and responds with a gift of hope: “I’m here too, bluesman. I’m here too!”

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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.