Before I begin I just want to say that for a couple of reasons I was reluctant to write this. One reason is that I feel when ever someone does something for someone else it shouldn’t be glorified if it’s the right thing to do, but it’s what happened at the end is why I needed to say it.
All in all I’m a pretty simple man. I don’t wear flashy clothes (my wardrobe is pretty much cargo shorts and t-shirts year round), and I’ll sooner try and fix something that breaks before replacing it with something new. But every now and again I want, what I refer to as, a bourgeois coffee. You know what I’m talking about. Just about anything on the Starbucks menu, regardless if it’s cold or hot it’s covered with foam, whip cream, and caramel! Today was one of those days. So I put a little money to the side ($15) and figured I’d grab something in Penn Station this morning while waiting for my train. Weaving through the crowds at this seemingly perpetually filled station, I finally arrived at the Starbucks that I usually go to (there are 3 in Penn Station) for my indulgence in excess. But for some reason as I got to the door I stopped. I suddenly didn’t want the coffee. Within a minute of me standing there a man, probably not much older than me, walks up and in an almost whisper asks if I have any change. I reach into my pocket and pull out the five dollar bill and hand it to him. Appearing a little stunned, I can only assume he was literally expecting change…or nothing at all. We spoke for a moment, he said thank you I said God bless and he was off. A few minutes go by and I’m still debating in my head about going in, I mean I can still get the bourgeois coffee just no lemon cake (as you can see I’ve done this before) when an older man walks up to me. At initial glance, the clothes and facial tattoos made me expect a confrontation. Yes I was being judgmental, but sometimes it’s safer to air on the side of caution. Then in a soft spoken, almost apologetic manner he said that if I could give him just a moment he’d be out of my way, and then asked if I “had just 4 quarters”. I said ,”I’ll tell you what buddy I don’t have any change, but I’ll give you this” as I handed him a folded ten dollar bill. His look went from disappointment to confusion. After looking up and down at his hand a few times he whispered ,”you made a mistake it’s ten dollars”. I told him,”it’s not a mistake, it all I have left.” Then simply said, “God bless”.
The next few moments are why I’m writings this down. It was both heartbreaking and heart lifting at the same time.
As he reached out his hand to say thank you, without a thought I shook his hand a gave him the “guy hug”. He looked at me and said “who are you? This was great” motioning to the money ,” but you hugged me…most people wouldn’t hug me”. I said, “we’re all just people right? Sometimes people just forget.” He stood there for a moment not sure what to say so I told him to go outside and soak up this unusually nice January day and God bless. As I walked away, my train platform was announced, heading down the stairs to my train the scripture quote “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me” (Mathew25:40) was running through my head. And the reality is it wasn’t about the money. Although I’m sure they both appreciated it, it was the conversation. It was the simple human contact and being treated like everyone else. I think that’s what we forget sometimes. Let’s face it we all start the same, and we all will face the same judgment in the end, and even though everything that happens in between may be different, we are all the same in God’s eyes. As soon we can learn to see each other through His eyes and not the ones we’ve created the world will be a better place. Now that I think about it, that was one of the best bourgeois coffee I ever had.
As much as I want people to remember, I am almost uneasy telling this because the unfortunate reality is there are a lot of bad people who try to prey on the goodwill of others. My size (5’10 250lbs) allows me the ability to put myself out there with less fear of something bad occurring. With that I still tend to air on the side of caution, just learning to do that without being judgmental. Alas we’re all just works in progress. Thanks for stopping by. Remember to live the Faith. God bless.
As we are entering the second week of December, and are now almost 10 days into Advent, I feel the need to bring up a point that too many people seem to miss this time of year. Advent is just as much of a time to prepare ourselves for the returning of Christ as Lent. Between the over commercialization of the season, and the anticipation and act of exchanging gifts it’s real easy to “forget” or dismiss the importance of the holiday on a spiritual level. Forget the commercialization aspect for a moment and just see it from perspective of a birthday. How can you blame anyone from getting caught up in the festive idea of the birth of Jesus. Now add in the gifts and “birthday party” mentality, sprinkle in some eggnog and a few Christmas songs, top it off with a tree and Kris Kringle and as happy of a time as it seems the day has become paper thin. Now before you start to respond with “Scrooge” or “bah humbug” let me just say that, like Easter, Christmas Day is a joyful celebration. And for the record I love eggnog! But THIS time…Advent…is for remembering the trials that Mary and Joseph went through in months, days, and literally minutes before the birth of Christ, as well as our time to prepare ourselves for when Christ will return. Whether it’s the birth, the rising, or the second coming of Jesus it is an absolutely joyous moment for us and should be celebrated accordingly. But like those who came before us, we must be ready…we must be worthy…of this gift. And we must be willing to teach others about this. So as we all (myself included) find ourselves over indulging in eggnog and holiday treats, while humming the same three Christmas songs we’ve heard a dozen times today, as we slip further into financial debt please take some time every day to center yourself with prayer, and put into perspective the TRUE debt we owe and the joy we will not just feel but live when He returns.
God bless. Merry Christmas. #advent #christmas #christ #jesus #reasonfortheseason
He existed in the beginning with God.” -John 1:1-2
Every 9 weeks my work schedule shifts and I have to work a week of overnights and a week of 3-11’s. So with inconvenient train schedules combined with my desire to avoid the subway as the sniffles season begins, at the end of my shift I walk the 2.5 miles to Penn Station. I actually enjoy the walk, because as I zigzag through the streets I get to see people as they’re just starting their day as mine is ending. Something about the look on the faces. Seeing them full of energy and anticipation of the coming day, it’s almost like a temporary boost for me after a long night. But this morning, as I was walking half in a daze like I usually am after the first night, the sound of kids playing snapped me back into reality. As I got closer to the school yard I could see a dozen or so kids playing a baseball like game, next to another large group trying to have conversations over the music they we’re playing. Next was a group of five or six huddled around a phone laughing at some video, I actually found myself smiling thinking how nice it is to be so carefree. Then in the middle of the playground, sitting on the cold asphalt, I saw one kid. His phone in one hand and his face in the other, it was heartbreaking. I mean there was at least 50 kids there and no one was talking to him. I don’t know if it was the dad in me ,but it took everything not to start yelling to the other kids to include him…the reality that I’d look crazy and that kid probably would’ve been embarrassed kept me at bay. So as I walked by I said a quick prayer and hoped that he had friends that were just running late.