Sunday, December 11, 2005

We're Really All the Same. . .Really We Are

People touch me.

They always have.

When my daughters were teenagers, there was a hit country song entitled, "Sentimental Old You."

They would give me a hard time whenever it played.

They knew people got to me.

So, I'm a sap.

So, what you gonna do about it, huh? Wanna make something of it?

All this to say, I cried at a stoplight earlier this week.

I'm sitting at the intersection of the I-30 service road and Carroll Avenue here in East Dallas.

I'm minding my own business, I tell you. I'm on my way to a meeting in Oak Cliff.

I just want on the freeway. I'm not looking for anything or anyone, honest.

There at the stop light is a homeless man.

This is his corner to "work" today.

But, when I pull up, the guy is on his lunch break.

He's eating macaroni and cheese out of a paper cup.

He also has a dog.

The dog is watching this guy's every move.

The dog wants a bite. . .bad.

The guy is talking to the dog.

I promise, I could see it coming.

Finally, the guy stoops down, spreads out a napkin on the ground, as if he were setting a formal dinner table, and spoons out a scoop of his lunch for his dog.

This guy is beyond, way beyond broke.

He is hungry, very hungry.

But, he shares. . .with his dog, no doubt his best friend.

I watched it all.

In that moment our souls hooked up, the light changed and I drove on. . . wiping away a tear.

We are all really basically the same.

We really are.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Thanks for crying.

I cried this week, too. I cried for Sam, a 22 year old "kid" (I've known him for 10 years) who got messed up trying to make a life the wrong way. A guy who walked through life with his head down, barely looking at you when you spoke to him. Sammy sold drugs to make a living. He messed up. He got hooked on the drugs he sold. He needed more and went for the harder stuff. The person he bought from decided to make an example out of him to prove a point because one of Sam's friend's robbed his drug house.

Sam is gone. Shot in the shoulder and the stomach. He was only 22. Sure, he made some wrong choices--choices that sometimes seem inevitable in a society that casts people like Sam aside without even getting to know the person inside.

I cried for Sammy again today in church. I cried because I experienced a fairly typical church service...We praised God for what he's brought *us* through...We praised God for keeping *us* from harm...We praised God for his mercy on *us*. Today, praising God for sparing *me* didn't feel so great because my inward Christian praise left out those who God *didn't* spare. This week he didn't spare Sammy.

While we were sitting in our church building praising God for keeping us from harm, I realized...

The Sammy's of the world aren't walking through church doors.

While we sit in church, they're walking through life with their head down. Why do we feel that *they* need to join *us* in our church buildings?

What are we doing to make our world a place that the Sammy's of the world can also praise God for keeping them from harm?

The only difference between Sammy and me is that we had different choices to make. He was raised in a much tougher environment than I was. I thank God for Sammy being a part of my life and pray that we can begin to see that we really are all the same.

"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is tied up with mine, then let us work together."
-- Lill Watson, aboriginal activist