It’s fortuitous that I would see and read this article today because just this morning I had an encounter with a homeless person.
He was sitting at the exit from the subway, saying to each person that passed by, “Can you spare a dollar or two for me?” When it was my turn for him to address me I said “Not today. Sorry” and continued on my way.
Half way up the escalator I felt ashamed. I thought of Jesus’ words regarding what we do for the least of our brothers. I wondered if that was Jesus and I failed the test. Not only had I ignored this brother, but I had lied to him. He had asked if I could spare a dollar or two and I said no.
That wasn’t true. I certainly could have spared a dollar or two. I just didn’t want to. Well, that’s not entirely true. I said “no” automatically, as if by rote.
I walked the rest of the way to work thinking about what I could do differently. (Mind you, I felt bad, but my pride wouldn’t let me go back. Silly, I know, and I’m ashamed of it now.) My thought at that time was that I could put a few $1’s in my front pocket so as to be prepared for this next time. This article gave me more ideas as to what I could do.
“My father started to cry and I realized that he never had cried when we listened to that carol before, when my grandfather was still with us. ‘Why are you crying?’ I once asked him and he said he cried because he was the oldest in our family, that he remembered how it was when he was in the pack, singing those beautiful carols, and he cried because he was the next man in our family to die.”
We’re preparing to move from the place that we’ve lived at for over ten years. I received an email from the assistant manager of my current place regarding my lease renewal and made an appointment with her to discuss our move out.
Mihaela Zoltany is her name. I think to myself, “Mihaela is a Romanian name”, but I didn’t know about the surname Zoltany. I also suspected that “Mihaela” is probably common in other countries as well.
I went to the appointment and met her. The accent was much more obvious this time. I said, “Mihaela. Is that eastern European?”
“I’m from Romania.”
The coincidences are compelling. I need to go back. And I need to get my DNA checked.
“Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying, it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again”
I feel it coming again. It comes in little bits and pieces this early in the season, but it’s coming. That feeling that I’ve been getting this time of year for the last five years or so. I like, and do not like, this season. I’ve written about it before and if you’re interested, you can find those writings.
I know it’s not Advent yet, but this sums it up:
“In Advent, we are made aware that the hours of darkness are lengthening. The days grow shorter. Night seems to consume the world. Perhaps we feel the darkness in our own hearts, our own lives, our own prayer: we look for some sign of God and see nothing. Perhaps we are oppressed by the darkness of the world around us: we notice the poor living without shelter on our streets, we hear the cry of the hungry, we are alerted to wars and rumors of war. We yearn to see the day when Christ will come in all his glory to put an end to darkness of every kind. It has been said that in Advent we live in the night with our faces turned toward the unseen dawn. Hosea reminds us of the central conviction of the Advent spirit: ‘as certain as the dawn is his coming.’ Let us pray in hope for the rising of the Sun.”