“If someone asks you, give them something, even if all you have is a button. Give it.” - Desert Ascetic
I heard that quote about 11 years ago, when a transition and seemingly larger struggle began in my life with the journey to leave behind the secular world and press forward to go beyond religion and seeking a relationship with the spiritual dynamic that created everything. Some call it god, some call it pure love, and all I know is that beyond our human senses, I have come to a place experientially, where I have faith that what the books all talk about is real. There is more beyond our short and finite lifespan on this planet.
But the struggle appears to come, as I have to empty myself from all the “stuff” I have and had, let go of it, change, and then try to become something different than what I was. The journey to become selfless in a very selfish world usually appears to be someone getting hit in the head, and then you are told to turn the other cheek.
Getting hit is not biggie. I think of the childhood prose of "sticks and stone..." physically, most injuries heal just fine. what is left behind in the heart and soul, the residue of injury we can't see with our visible eyes...sometimes never heals. Learning to turn the other cheek, and get rid of the anger, bitterness, resentment, and other “stuff” to forgive another and love your enemy. That will probably take a lifetime to walk out, and you do need something other than yourself to help you in the journey. That part is the love that goes beyond human and secular love; call it the spirit of the divine – aka – pure love.
So what I noticed going on in New York and all the other cities in upstate, is that the people that really need a hand, some food, or hope on the street are being pushed behind by the land of the professional beggar. I really don’t see a whole lot of differences between the professional beggar and the professional politician, sans perhaps a higher level of education and better clothing to wear. In the past the politicians served constituents, a homeless person was a bit ashamed and needed help. Today, both appear to be serving self first, at the expense of all the rest.
Going into the city a guy get on the bus and ran a story. White guy with his tattoo’s and Navy story, needed a place to stay, said he was from Austin Texas. So I asked, “What is the best BBQ in Austin.” The guy made up a name and I was like, “damn, this guy is lying through his teeth.” But remember that quote? Well, the guy asked for help, so I was like, “wow, I am probably getting ripped off here, but I have learned in 11 years, that god works in ways I can’t comprehend in logic.” So he got something. All under the watchful eye of a bus driver that allowed it to happen.
In the city, I walked by what seems to be the stock and trade of homeless with dogs as a prop and company. I stopped to listen to the people walking by. They did not comment on the person on the street with the sign and various stories asking for money or help, instead each talked about “that poor dog” and how the dog needed help. As mentioned earlier, it was even getting easy for me to walk right by the long lines of homeless, not even seeing them anymore in my vision as they all seemed to just blend into the sidewalks.
At lest they were better behaved than the other scourge of NYC, the poorly costumed photo people with all the Disney Characters who behave like a pack of wild hyenas to get a dollar or two from foreign tourists.
The last man of the night walked up holding a small cross in his hand and his name was “Gabriel” and he had his story and pitch polished. I am not to judge him, but the man never looked me once in the eyes, so I even said, “I don’t know if you are lying or sincere, but that choice is yours, and yours only.”
Gabriel was invited to sit down and share his homeless experience. I am not sure where the truth began, or where the story ends. It was probably a blend of two. So like the aforementioned quote, I just handed him something and said a short prayer and hoped his thank you for treating him as a human was sincere and that he might one day actually get off the streets and make something of himself. He wanted to be a motivational speaker, of which, I thought of many TV preachers that are really not much different than Gabriel.
“God said to get me a new Gulfstream 650…. I need to be blessed!" (and the congregation gives it to him, thinking, that the guy is bigger than god, who is everywhere)
I don’t know where the bullshit of people inside the USA comes from. What I see is that the trend for specialization is growing, just as the homeless folks work in packs there now. Like Google, apple, & facebook, the growing “go big” is even happening in the streets. There is more competition for what is the same amount of wealth, make that a decreasing amount of resources of the average American.
Those with much, I will writ about another day, explaining what I saw in Williamsburg. But for a close, I simple type, “god created enough for all on the planet, man has created a really messed up distribution system.”
I do understand how people can be this way, but after a change post 9-11, perhaps I am simply seeing a different perspective or through different eyes with change, but don’t know why we continue on a path of selfishness that is simply…unsustainable.
But then again, we have a way’s to go before every photo I see is selfies from others.
The photo is of Gabriel. He is walking out his journey, if you see him in times square and he asks for anything, flip a coin as to help him or not. What I do know, is that if enough people help – it can open the door for change, not only him – but you as well.
Why did i write this? I think to try to make some sense and rationalize in my own mind the shifting landscape inside the united states with disparity.