Thursday, December 11, 2008

A good lesson

One of the best things about moving across the country is meeting, and becoming friends with, people I would probably never have gotten the chance to meet at home, let alone form a relationship with.

The following copy and paste is written by my friend Christ Jardin. I met him through friends and we go to the same church, The Third Space, of which he's a community pastor. We went out of for coffee last week and were talking about blogging and I told him how i have this elaborate online blog network of people i know well, people i know fairly well, people i barely know, and people i've only met via interweb. He said he was going to get the church's blog up and running again and this is what he just posted. its powerful. read to the end. its well worth it.

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The curtain rises.

So this post marks my re-emergence into the world of blog after a hiatus of two plus years. Greetings fellow wanderers of the internet, it’s been awhile. I’ve come a long way since the summer of 2006. No longer do I bear the title of lowly Intern, I graduated from university, got some letters after my name, and somewhere along the lines got upgraded to the status of Community Pastor…take that title however you will, I’m still working that one out myself. All that pre-amble to give context to the fact that the reason I’ve broken my silence is due to an occurrence that is perhaps simple and mundane to the outsider, but was incredibly profound and meaningful to me. I had an encounter last week that led me to the notion that the only appropriate response would be to share it in a wide-scale format. Enter….the internet.

Enter the players.

Last Saturday after having made my way to Ottawa via my thumb and the kindness of strangers, I found myself wandering downtown streets in search of nothing in particular. Aimlessly wandering, talking to no one, lost in grand thoughts about nothing of significance or consequence, I had no agenda. Eventually I found myself wandering down Dalhousie street in what I felt at the time was somewhat of a westerly direction. The street was fairly well occupied by hurried pedestrians, all of whom seemed to be paying no particular attention to their immediate surroundings or those filling up said spaces. I suppose I would count myself as bearing a similar mindset to those around me. Yet as I strolled down the sidewalk my ears pricked. “Excuse me, are you o.k.?” My eyes gazed to my immediate left only to be confronted by a man in a wheelchair. My eyes soon registered the fact that this man had no legs nor fingers on his right hand and seemed to be in some depth of poverty, he having a Tim Horton’s cup in his left. “Yes, I’m fine. How are you?” “Oh, I’m all right.” At this point we proceeded to converse about the weather and how he had found himself in his present circumstances, (not the most pleasant of tales) until he asked me something that caught me quite off guard. “Listen are you hungry? Do you need anything to eat?” “No I’m fine. I’m doing pretty all right actually.” At this point he reached into his pocket, fumbling for a few seconds with its contents, and when his hand emerged it now possessed a five dollar bill. “Here take this, buy yourself a sandwich.” At that moment, I found myself speechless. Eventually I was able to sputter “Oh…no, no, I’m actually o.k., I don’t need it, but thank you so much…” “No worries, I try to give as much I get. Anyhow, it was nice meeting you.” “Yeah, for real, uh, thanks again, bless you.”

The final act wherein certain revelations are made.

I walked away from that man pained and heartbroken. That encounter, that man, that act, that heart, to me, to my understanding of God, of this world, of humanity, and of their purpose, is it. That was it. This man who has never seen me before, has no idea who I am, where I come from, or what I’m about, perceives that I might be in need, that I might need help, that I might be hungry, that I might be suffering. Instead of letting me walk by leaving me to my own devices, he stops me, offers me what he can, to help in whatever way he can, to make my stay in this world that much better. He sacrifices what he has and presumably needs, because he perceives a greater need, and his heart, his love prevents him from doing otherwise. This man whose society, whose community, has largely ignored him, for no one on Dalhousie St. was paying that man any mind, sees fit to give back to that society, to that community, even though they don’t deserve it. That is the love of Christ.

Exit stage left.

A little while ago I was having coffee with a friend who was relating to me a story of how they had been on a bus in Peterborough and had noticed that a fellow passenger was crying and obviously was in some degree of duress. This friend of mine proceeded to tell how she had gone over to this person to see if they were ok, if they could do anything to help. Upon concluding this story, she exclaimed to me, “It’s weird that I did that, isn’t it?” My response to her was this, “Yes, that is weird, but that’s also the most normal thing you could have done.” Herein lies my challenge, one that’s perhaps, especially relevant at this time of year, when it becomes so exceedingly easy to become immersed in our own lives, our own families, our own happiness. For all its complexity, it’s really quite simple: Don’t let those who are suffering walk you by, and be sure not to walk them by.