The Emptiness of Our Hands: A Lent Lived on the Streets

Online price: $18.00  (plus shipping)

With your purchase you'll make a donation to the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Families Foundation.

From February 17 through April 4, 1999, Phyllis Cole-Dai and James Murray lived voluntarily on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. This period of time coincided with the Christian observance of Lent and Holy Week.

Phyllis and James didn't go out on the streets to satisfy idle curiosity or experience a strange new world.  They didn't go out to find answers to questions or solutions to problems. They didn't go out to save anyone. They went out for one primary reason: to be as present as possible to everyone they met. In other words, they set out, in their own way, to love their neighbor as themselves. Doing so, they were reminded just how difficult the practice of compassion can be.

The Emptiness of Our Hands is a meditative narrative accompanied by nearly thirty black and white photographs, most of them shot by James on the streets using crude pinhole cameras he constructed from trash. The impressionistic photographs and strenuous text will together thrust you out the door of your comfortable home, not so you might experience the thrill of walking on the edge, or even find answers to your questions, but so you might better understand what being without a home can do to a person.


  •  6 x 9 format (paperback), 268 pp. 
  •  fully chronological account, perfect for use in daily meditation
  •  appreciated by Christian and non-Christian readers alike
  •  front cover designed around one of James's pinhole photographs