Blessings and Light / by Preston Thomas

BLESSINGS AND LIGHT | HAVANA, CUBA | © PRESTON LEWIS THOMAS

BLESSINGS AND LIGHT | HAVANA, CUBA | © PRESTON LEWIS THOMAS

We passed her sitting on a bench just inside the gates on the Cathedral grounds. Her hands outstretched, hoping to receive. A beggar on the threshold of the house of the Lord. I stared at her as we continued inside, unsure of the proper etiquette. 8:30am and already well into the 80s, fahrenheit, that is. It only took a few short minutes for my shirt to become soaking wet and paste itself to my skin.

I stood in back of the Cathedral, quietly making photographs as services began. When the word “Oramos” (Let us Pray) was spoken, she entered, her gait slightly unsteady, but without hesitation, and walked right down the middle aisle, stopping just about center.

She bowed her head and joined the others in prayer.

“Amen…” and in the same fashion she entered, she turned right around and marched back to the doorway, then paused. She placed her hands on the door frame and leaned slightly forward into the light. I captured this moment just before she stepped back out into the world.

Outside, she took her place on the bench, and all was as it was before. Hands outstretched to passers by, hoping to receive.

A beggar on the threshold of the house of the Lord…
With Blessings.

Havana.