What is right? And what is wrong? We all have a pretty good idea, of which is which. Are lines ever blurry? Are some things not black and white? Some of you may know at the end of this blog, what I’m really digging at. Some won’t. Some may try something extra kind for someone along the way. That’s all I’m hoping.
I lied this Christmas. I told everyone I was home when I wasn’t. I said I had plans when so many invited me into their homes, knowing this was a hard year for me since my mom just passed. But I lied. I think if it spares someone’s feelings, if you just don’t have the energy to explain, or if you just don’t want to hear another opinion… it’s ok. That’s my belief anyway.
Duck Dynasty. Such a hullabaloo going on right now. I bought the GQ magazine. I stood in the supermarket isle with my father and read the pages. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Some dudes who have a duck calling company are the topic of every conversation this week. A statement about “vaginas…” Really? We are getting all up in arms about some men with beards who have a reality show? A REALITY show???
Everyone is so damn quick to quote the bible. They desperately want to MAKE THEIR POINT! On what is WRONG out there! Blurred lines… they get pretty blurry these days. Just ask #robinthicke. :-)
The funny thing is, so many of us forget to concentrate on what’s RIGHT! It’s so EASY to dwell on the opinions of others who differ from our own. But low and behold, the real guts of the bible… I see so many over look.
I don’t read the bible. I’m not going to even pretend I know what’s going on in that book. I hear it in church and have done reports in school on certain writings, but I’m no expert. I wasn’t there. So many people quote it, but then act completely different from its teachings. Ever notice that? It’s a turn off. And I’m sure the book is amazing. And I’m sure it wasn’t written for assholes to self appoint themselves as God The Almighty, ready at any given moment to stone those publicly that don’t seem to completely agree. Too bad so many people give it a bad name by hiding behind words and being judgmental, or unkind or passive aggressive comments. All of you who jumped on the Dynasty bandwagon, you’re missing the point. At least the Jesus I was taught about in 1000 years of Catholic school was a kind and loving God. A non judgmental and friend to many, that most of us see an invisible. If that even makes sense.
What I do remember about the Bible is this.
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
So while so many are focused on issues that really don’t apply to them, these same people probably don’t even recognize the verse above. It brings chills to my skin. Because I have seen how many of these people live. And they are in circumstances so many times that they couldn’t control. Which brings me to the point of this blog. Please read. Because it’s beautiful.
My mom died a few months back. I wanted to do my own thing this holiday. So did my father. I saw him for a few days before Christmas. We said what needed to be said. But we both knew we needed to just be alone and have time to mourn on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. This year would be different.
I had that Bible verse in my head and some restaurant gift certificates in my hand. And I wanted to do something even more unconventional than I had in the past holidays. I wanted to skip all the dinners I was invited to this year. Rock Stars, Politicians, friend’s family, celebrities whom I have taken their photos… This year I had my own plan.
I drove around downtown. Stopping when I saw someone bundled up or with a lot of bags. I told them how my mom passed & I was alone this holiday. That I was looking for a dinner companion.
“I’m waiting for a ride”, woman said. “I don’t want to miss it.” Clearly she had been there for hours. I said, “Ok, well Merry Christmas anyway mam.” She grabbed my hand and said, “Merry Christmas, and I’m sorry for your loss.”
Wow. I walked away with a tear in my eye. So many people I know haven’t said much. And a homeless woman on the side of the road thought enough of me to say that. Amazing isn’t it? We take for grated so many things. We dismiss so many people…
I asked another woman. She too was waiting for a ride. She told me to cross the street. That there were people in the alley. I crossed. I asked. They were assholes. They told me I could bring them a steak dinner. Yeah, I’ll get right on that. One man said, “I’ll go with you to dinner only if you buy me a hotel room…” Pass. He was a jerk. One man sleeping said I could bring it to him. He was too tired to get up…
I was a little frustrated. This wasn’t the holiday I had on my head. I was disappointed. I drove a few miles. Nothing. No one.
Up a one way I drove, a man in the gutters was digging through the trash. Picking out cans and stomping them. He was a mess. I kept driving. This one was too far gone for even me. Then I thought it. I made a U-turn. He was frantically dumping out cans. And, as almost a sign from my mom. This was my guy.
I parked, got out and just got right to the point. “You eat today?” “Nope” he said. “Well I have a coupon for a free dinner down the…” “Say no more” he shouted with complete joy. “Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus!” I knew I was supposed to be in THIS alley” he proclaimed.
Greg was pretty damn excited. I told him how much I had & that we would split it. He just kept on thanking Jesus. Saying he knew something great was going to happen today. He shook my hand. Introduced himself like a gentleman and then said, “hey Blondie, put on your seatbelt would you?”
He told me his story of working on cars in Detroit. Getting laid off. Watching a gang member shoot his twin brother in the head over a bottle of booze and how he lost his mom and dad last year too. Greg was a pretty sad dude. But he was happy tonight. And not just for the meal, but to have someone listen.
He must have told me a million times “thank you for allowing me to speak.” It was reminiscent of Afghanistan. Entertaining our troops last year. Sure, they said they liked the show, we melted some faces, but it was the conversations post performance they seemed to love even more. A chance to talk to someone on the outside. I spent hours just listening. It was an honor.
As it twas to be Greg’s dinner companion. People we staring at this unlikely couple. And I didn’t give a fat shit. This guy was more polite than 90% of the men I’ve dated in my life. He was grateful, asked me questions, cut my bread and even preciously fed me a few bites of his remaining food when we were almost done.
Greg kept saying there were still good people out there. That this was God’s way of saying he was still doing ok. And he couldn’t believe a white woman would see past differences to invite him to dinner. “WTF is that Greg?” I asked. He told me it’s still common to just “unassociated” yourself with someone different. He said he spoke slowly and I’m sure I thought he was crazy & dumb. And he quietly whispered, “I can’t read, so I will have what you are having” I read him the menu anyway. He was about the most precious guy I’ve met in a long time.
So while people are still talking about “The Ducks” maybe direct your attention to the people around you who may need a little help. A gift card, a dollar, some take out, whatever you can do. It’s huge. And I feel it’s better to concentrate on our similarities, rather than harp on those whose opinions differ. This man was so grateful, so wonderful and I was honored to be in the absolute midst of what Christmas is all about.
Greg picked up his napkin that lay under the table. He folded it exactly as mine was on my plate upon finishing. He thanked the wait staff profusely for their “hospitality” and wished everyone in the restaurant a Merry Christmas.
He opened my car door for me, told me to put on my seatbelt and told me of a shelter I could bring him to.
I drove that way. I asked if he ever did find work in this town. He said he used to work for a kind man, but he had a heart attack… I asked him what he did. He said janitorial in an area I knew well. He said the man that owned the property was good to him. “Ed” he said. “Ed Johnson” I proclaimed? “Yes!” I knew this man. He had let me into many of his properties years ago to shoot photos when I didn’t have my studio. And now that I think of it, the man who used to let me in, who was kind to me and let me stay late, was the janitor sitting in my passenger seat. “Mr. Taylor” is said? Is that you?” OMG, it’s the photo girl!
Small world isn’t it? I took him to the shelter tucked away in the murky depths of downtown. I parked and went in. What a sight. Not what most of us are used to for Christmas Eve. “Can my friend please have a spot? I know it’s late, but he needs a place to sleep.” They asked how I knew him. I said he was my dinner companion for the evening. And they asked if I would vouch for him. I asked what that entailed exactly. Just that I said it was a good idea for him to stay. I told them we had only been drinking water and that it was a VERY good idea for him to stay.
These were good people working Christmas Eve. And we had an understanding. They knew without words what I was up to and allowed him to stay.
“Good bye Greg! Merry Christmas!” I yelled as I headed for the door “Wait” he said! “Let me walk you to your car!” I just laughed and said all right bro. All good.
Someone knocked into me upon our exit. Greg told them to apologize to me. When they wouldn’t you would have thought a war started. Greg was all up in their face saying how “you don’t disrespect a lady like that!” Lol. I said let’s just go. It’s ok.
He opened my car door, closed it. And as I rolled down my window he yelled one last time…”seat belt Blondie. Seat belt!”
Even though my mom is gone, I felt her shinning down upon me this Christmas Eve. This was a number taken from her book. And I was glad to honor her this was. This blog is in no way a grand stand, rather a reminder that any day of the year, you can step out of your boundaries a bit and do something kind for another human being. What’s funny is he didn’t really realize the true kind deed was listening to me. Helping me through my grief by offering a kind and non-judgmental ear. It works both ways.
Everyone always warns me when I do these “dinners”. I get it. I appreciate your concern. But my guest was actually the one who was “vulnerable” that night. He got into MY car, I drove, I called the shots. “I” could have been the maniac.
If you are younger or a female and reading this, it’s always a good idea to approach someone when you are with a group or another person. I’ve been doing this type of thing for a long time, in many cities, so I’m a bit more in tune on what personalities to look for. Those pushing carts, being pro active, not just standing around begging or on the corner are usually a good candidate to be receptive to what you are proposing. Not to say that all people don’t deserve a little TLC, but some are not open to it. Just know that going into it.
Concentrate on the things you can do to “help” rather than those that place criticism, blame or hate upon other human beings. Lastly, read you bible, but “hear” what it’s saying. Use those words for good. Even if it’s uncomfortable or unglamorous. It will make the most impact on your life. Trust me. Tonight was about the most perfect holiday I’ve ever had. I just wanted to share thoughts. Peace