News & Events
Give the Best Love for them!
Posted in News
By: Alan Lane, North Carolina
A little over a month ago I was fortunate to revisit the Missionaries of the Poor and their “homeless” residents after my first visit last August. Both times I was struck by the humanity, dignity, beauty, and joy exhibited by so many of these people who, considering their circumstances of mental or physical disability, illness, or social status, would be suffering a level of loneliness that comes from being abandoned and unwanted by family and society.
As a photojournalist I felt the need to capture this unusual phenomenon on film. When I walked into each center, there was an immediate connection, warmth, which exuded from the residents who allowed me into their space to capture in pictures their “souls.”
I vividly recall, after just being at one of the centers for a few minutes, one of the residents leaning on my shoulder and the other lying on my lap. Nothing was said, and they weren’t asking for anything. They just wanted to share the love that is in them with someone who only wanted to love them in return. It was very moving to me and something I won’t forget, just as when I was tapped on the shoulder by another resident, only to turn around and be given a huge hug. I had wondered if I would be remembered from my first time with them back in August. Instances like these, and the new friendships that were developed, were very affirming.
The camera took a back seat this time, but through the “lens” of my own spirit, I created a unique bond with them. It is amazing just how much attentiveness, love, and genuine concern for others’ well-being that the Brothers provide on a daily basis. Every resident I came across is able to express daily a deep level of reciprocity and openness in their relationships with each other.
Why is it often said about the poor that, “they don’t have anything but they look so happy”? Is it that they don’t wish for or desire so many of the material things that we who are more fortunate in life have? I would say that first and foremost when people feel cared for, respected and loved, whether they have or not, what matters is their spirits shine and initiates a desire and ability to return that love ten-fold.
When we volunteer for places like these there might be a tendency to think about what we can give to people we see as less fortunate than ourselves. It is true, that what we have to offer is important and meaningful, and hopefully lasting, but what we receive is indescribable. One can only hope that we carry such experiences with us as we return home, and incorporate them more and more into our daily lives.