Jesus falls under the cross.
Photograph from Real Change

Jerusalem, Station 3:
Jesus falls under the cross.

Seattle, Station 3:
Under the I-5 viaduct at James Street.

Sleeping "under the bridge" is the introduction to homelessness for many people — usually men.

Some of the men who come here have lived on the edge of survival for many years, on seasonal work or minimum wage jobs, until illness or a car breakdown tipped them over. Eventually they'll save enough money to get back into a cheap apartment or hotel — until the next emergency.

Others are numbed by shock. Only recently they had houses of their own, professional jobs, perhaps families. A corporate disaster, a personal tragedy, divorce, accident — something happened to tip them over their own margin of survival, as effectively as those with a thinner margin.

Some are alcoholics, drug addicts, wanderers in a limbo of mental illness, numbed to the miseries of a molding mat under the bridge. Some are still seeking entry into treatment programs. The budget is small; strict requirements and long waiting lists are huge obstacles; only a few will get into rehab before they, too, become resigned to this existence.

The human spirit triumphs even here, even among those who remain here. A Christmas wreath decorates one concrete wall.

Go on to Station 4
Return to Stations of the Cross: the Spiritual Geography of Homeless People in Seattle