Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Memory of Trinidad: Transforming institutions through humor and generosity

A few years ago I met a man named Trinidad when I was making a video about a group that I volunteer with, City House. Trindad was homeless at the time, and a participant in a spiritual companion program that City House offers. Earlier this week, Trinidad died of a heart attack. As much as anyone I've met, Trinidad seemed to cultivate a positive spirit in institutions he was a part of--a homeless shelter, an apartment building, and a community of people who were homeless. He didn't change the spirit of institutions through any formal authority, but through his personal humor, warmth, and generosity. Here is a 2 minute video of Trindad, which gives you a taste of his gifts:

This video is part of a longer video that I made about City House. The full video is available on their web-site. City House connects "the mainstream and margins for mutual spiritual growth and transformation." I currently volunteer through City House to facilitate a spirituality group at a drug and alcohol recovery center. I'm very grateful for the many gifts I received through participating in City House.

This week I give thanks for the ways that Trinidad touched and charmed the people around him.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Michael. This is a beautiful memorial. And I agree with you, Trinidad influenced this community in informal but powerful ways. He was and is an inspiration to me. I will miss him.

Tom Allen
Co-executive director
City House

Terry Shaughnessy said...

Trinidad was quite an inspiration in my life and a unique friend who I miss already. His greatest gift was his optimistic spirit and open heart, both of which ingratiated him to others and allowed for terrific little kindnesses which he loved bestowing in the streets. I think of Trinidad as the mascot of City House, an emblem of all that is good and possible to a ministry for those most avoided in society. Trinidad rests in the loving embrace of the Divine & is hearing "Gottcha" from the other side.
Peace my friend,
Terry Shaughnessy

Joanne Dehmer said...

Michael,thank you for sharing Trinidad with this video. I've heard about him and now I understand more fully how he influenced many lives.
Thank you, too, to Terry whose presence with Trinidad encouraged him to share his story and joy with countless people.
And thank you to City House for providing an opportunity to see beyond externals to the goodness in one another...
I offer my sympathy and care for those who grieve this wonderful man.