Those of you who worship at First Worship might know Josh and Tommy. The pair sit in the first row behind the clergy on most Sundays with hot coffee and a good book in hand and warm smiles ready to greet. Josh and Tommy, are part of Boston's unhoused community. The two decided to get married in the fall of 2019 and the Old South Church staff decided it was worth a party. Nancy led the vows. Shawn offered the reading. Their friend Kurt (often with them at First Worship) served as Best Man. We feasted on cake and toasted the couple with sparkling cider.
The effects of COVID-19 have been cruel to the unhoused community. Public buildings used to keep warm and dry, closed. Hospitals, full. Social services stretched thin. Still, Josh and Tommy are resilient. They are safe and well. Josh, who always carries pen and paper, recently wrote the following reflection on his experience living on the streets. He offers it to Old South Church and the wider community.
Bless you Josh and Tommy. We look forward to seeing you in your spots--right behind the clergy--soon.
by Josh Cahill
A little drop of water, that’s all they said. It won’t hurt you much. I found out that it was more than just the first few drops. When you live on the streets water is your friend and your enemy. It can come in handy, or it can come through your blankets when you try your hardest to stay dry. Sometimes it can be that man that hands you a hundred or that long forgotten calling of your ancient enemy of addiction. This homeless life isn’t easy. It will chew you up and spit you out showing you what you’re really made of. I’ve seen this life break peoples’ backbones. I’ve seen people losing their sanity, I was almost one of them. I was homeless for five years. I built my new life that I now have out of the ruins of my old life as a baby phoenix rises from the ashes of that old fire of things that needed to be left behind. Through the death and fire that I had to deal with I also found salvation. I kept God close to me and he guided me through my journey and my trials, for there were many. After two and a half long arduous backbreaking years grinding every day for survival God saw fit to give me a partner, my soulmate and my husband. Ours has been the story of Bonnie and Clyde but with a much better ending. We went through hell on earth nine times over. What we have is so precious, but what we can give is precious as well. We have survived the turnings of the wheel of time and like Crash Bandicoot getting smashed when he went too far we always decide to try again. Always try again. You never know which try will be different. Keep the faith. Love thy neighbor. Love has been, is, and always will be the question and the answer. Nitwit`