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a better way

last night on the subway there was a probably homeless guy panhandling. there’s a lot more of that lately…it always goes up in the wintertime but this year it seems more than usual.

and this guy looked rougher than most. if i have change i sometimes give it to them, sometimes i don’t. don’t tell me they’ll just drink it away. most don’t and so what if they do? what, only rich people can have substance abuse problems? it’s his damn life, and if i want give money for food at the risk that it might not go for food, then it’s my damn life too. in this case, i’ll err on the side of life, as terri schiavo’s parents are so fond of saying.

anyway, i didn’t have change so i didn’t give him anything. but the guy standing next to me looked right at him, and in this louder than necessary voice says “there’s a better way, brother. you need to find jesus.”

and i stood there, wondering, as i honestly sometimes do, “what would jesus do?”

not that i wear the damn wwjd bracelet crap, anymore than i’m putting money in mel gibson’s pocket by buying a crucifixion nail commemorative necklace and wearing it. and i am not a religious person, but i am a spiritual person which after all is more important anyway. and i went to sunday school as a child and listened fairly well.

so i think i’m pretty sure of wwjd.


jesus would damn sure not stand in the subway and bark “you need to find me” at a homeless person. of that i am positive.

and if jesus talked to him, he would say whatever he had to say in a normal conversational tone of voice, because i’m sure jesus is confident enough in his own spirituality (i mean, the man is jesus, after all) to not have to loudly announce how righteous he is to the rest of the subway car.

this is the difference between being religious and being spiritual. this “savior of the subway” was religious. so wrapped up in being all evangelical that he’s evidently forgotten the gist of the message he is supposed to deliver.

i’ll bet this guy does this all the time, and i’ll bet it’s a total waste of breath, because he probably has not saved one damn person. he had this possessed overwrought look on his face when he barked at the probably homeless guy, and frankly he scared me. i’d have been more willing to listen to what the probably homeless guy had to say, and you’d know that’s quite a statement if you had seen the probably homeless guy in action.

there are certain people who have this beatific air that makes you really stop and consider your spiritual self when you talk to them or see them. they don’t shove their religious crap in your face blatantly. they just live their life as an example to others, have a humility that’s appealing, and without them even mentioning the subject you start reconsidering how you live your life.

there’s a homeless guy that i see pretty regularly on the subway. he’s a real mess–he’s filthy, he crawls on his hands and knees and literally begs person to person. imagine charles manson after a ten-year break from bathing.

but here’s the thing. i’ve a couple of times seen this certain woman on the subway at the same time. and she gives the guy change. but she knows his name, probably because she actually talks to him, and she looks right at him too, and she always has a nice brief conversation with him, addressing him by name, as she hands over the change.

maybe she’s jesus. she’s certainly a lot closer than barking dude is.

bonus prediction: terri schiavo is going to die on easter sunday, and those who ascribe meanings to clearly random events are going to try to make the rest of us pay a price for years to come.

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