As many of you who read my posts know, I can be defiant. Defiance, in my mind, arises from being told you suck too many times when you are actually just being yourself. Under the defiance, of course, is shame, because you half believe them.
I was out hoboing around today and thought, “living on the filth.” Now I don’t know if that thought came from my pride and defiance of how society lives and what they believe is important and maybe I don’t deserve all those good things. Or if it came from my heart; as in, what others call filth ain’t really that at all, in fact it is something truly sweet.
As I said their is both pride and humility in my thinking. When I started feeling better while homeless in Texas. I would go into the bars a little. A woman would approach, all smiles at my handsome self, and I would lay on the charm in that Texas accent I learned to mimic.
Then eventually they would ask what I did for a living. Inside I would want to hide, I was still ashamed you see, but I didn’t want to lie, so I would tell them I was homeless, with a sort of Eeyore tilt to my voice. Well their face would fall and pretty soon I was alone with the half empty beer I had pilfered off someone’s table.
Now the urge to hide and be shameful is much, much less in me. However, I did pause for just a second in front of Albertson’s, their Red Box movie machine is right next to the ash bin and a woman was there picking out a film. I got right in next to her and picked out the long butts. “Looking for a comedy,” I said, half-embarrassed. Turned out she likes Kung Fu movies. She was very polite but her look said she was wondering why the hell I didn’t go about my business without having to interrupt hers. She probably had a point.
When I was out picture taking the other day, there were a lot of bees pollinating the flowers I was trying to capture on film. I thought, “Pray like they pray.” I could not make hide nor hair of it until today.
I found a brand new Mexican style poncho, purple no less, and threw it over my shoulder. Later on I ran into a buddy who was eyeing the poncho pretty good. I gave it too him and he was touched, as he is sleeping outside at the moment. Just like the bees, take something a little sweet from one spot and depositing it where it is needed.
“Nature is a hobo,” was another thought I had. Humans seem to want to reject everything and anything that doesn’t remind them how great they are. Garbage, shit, filth, scum are all words we use to describe people and things that are not up to our high standards. Well nature calls that stuff fertilizer, it breaks it down and uses it to grow something very beautiful indeed.
Now there is nothing more beautiful than the human heart. I had the idea I was out learning to grieve today. Lots of folks are sad out there, not enough money, not enough time, and not enough love. Now if we shy from each other’s grief, we are really shying from each other.
I ran into a couple of hobo friends today and after the chit chat they shared some real loss from their lives. Dead children and spouses, children taken by the state, divorce etc. Now I have some losses in my life too, so we shared some tears together and I cam out feeling lighter. Some people never get past the chit chat and die in their grief.
The heart, with the help of Christ, will take all that grief, fear and shame, all the inner filth we are afraid to look at and turn it into joy. Just like nature does with its so called filth.
So today I lived off of other people’s pop, caffeine, cigarettes and half eaten food. Now is that defiance or is that love? Probably a little of both, Lord know I want a fishing boat, some archery gear and an Audi, but, I must say I am feeling pretty joyful. You want to find Christ? Look where others are afraid to look, straight into your own filth and the filth of others. Just looking will turn it into something beautiful.
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