What That Homeless Man Needs Is What I Need

What That Homeless Man Needs Is What I Need

The first homeless man I truly met was Tony.

It was cold and we were all bundled up, but I made a concentrated effort to not mention the coldness.  I had only been outside for a few moments and this man had no home to seek refuge in against the frigid weather.  My perspective of the cold was altered in the presence of a man who stood before me after successive days on the streets.

Tony was tall and kind.  In situations where he easily could have been bitter, he chose to not be.  I was with a group of pro-life university students and he never once made me feel privileged or self-indulged.  One Saturday, a student bought Tony a coffee and I watched him graciously accept it, even as his cold hands shakily caused the coffee to spill on his fingers.  My face was etched with the concern and sadness I felt as I watched the scene unfold, but Tony sought to comfort me in this situation.  He told me to not be sad because even in his difficult situation he was still happy.  That momentary exchange made such a significant impression on me.

In a couple of hours, I would return to my dorm room after a filling breakfast and Tony didn’t attempt to guilt me for the luxuries I had in life.  Rather, he came to the cold streets of Pittsburgh to spend time with us.  He accepted money or coffees when offered, but he said he didn’t like to look homeless.  We wouldn’t see him pushing a cart around or laden down with luggage.  Dressed in the warm clothes appropriate for the cold, he didn’t want to accept extra things that he would have to carry with him during the day.

Tony was the first human face I saw of homeless in a personal way.  I heard him talk about how fearful he had been early one morning when the intense cold made it difficult for him to get out of the chair in an abandoned house that he had accidentally fallen asleep in.  The reality of not being able to move for a couple of hours shook him as he faced the reality that he might die alone in the cold someday.  Yet he was also very happy and enjoyed being around a bunch of young college students.  He wasn’t near us because we always gave him things or because we were popular in the area.  Tony enjoyed being with us and some of the students became his friends. Continue reading “What That Homeless Man Needs Is What I Need”

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Movie Love

“I think I’m falling in love with you.”

That line from a movie should be captivating and romantic but at that specific point in the movie I found it utterly—belated and ridiculous.  So far the movie had been mindless albeit slightly different from other chick flicks that I’ve seen, but it came to a necessary aspect in nearly every modern romantic movie.  Boy and girl become very passionate and end up in bed together with no ring on their fingers to make this a marital embrace but rather an over-glorified way to use the other person.  In this particular movie, the guy and girl are in bed and as she is going to tell him something, he looks her in the eyes and huskily admits, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

My response?  A few short disbelieving laughs and an overwhelming sense of sadness.  You think that you are falling in love with her?  Aren’t those words (or perhaps simply “I love you”) supposed to come before you say those words with the language of the body?  I think the effect is supposed to elicit a response of “Awwww!”  But instead it makes me realize how far we have fallen.  The pinnacle of expressing one’s love for the other person is not found in virtuously denying oneself for the good of the other but rather in letting passion consumed oneself.

The romantic movies that are produced by the mainstream media always leave me less than fulfilled.  The man could be strikingly handsome and the girl witty and smart yet as soon as they fall into the cliché that love = sex, I find myself saddened inside.  If this is what the media is hailing as natural and love, then I shouldn’t be surprised at the decay of the culture.  The dignity of the human person is not upheld as it should be.  When I see a romantic movie it would be nice if I didn’t have to say, “That was good.  Except for….”  Or to think that it would be exactly the love story I would want if only they had shown virtue and a desire for the good of the other person.  Instead I typically leave with this odd feeling that is half wistful and half disgusted. 

I am a romantic by nature–perhaps not discoverable exteriorly but definitely found within my heart.  I want a wonderful love story and a love that is unending.  Yet I do not find myself agreeing with the only romance Hollywood knows how to offer.  Rather I begin to feel that I must be one of a small contingent that has a radically different view of love.  A purer, deeper, truer but far less exalted type of love.  The modern day romantic “fairy tale” ending is ridiculously trite.  In fact, it would be far more innovative for Hollywood to begin to use the oft-forgotten tale of the man and woman who show their radical love for one another within the embrace of Holy Matrimony.

This weekend I found a song with which I have fallen in love.  Her voice is beautiful and the lyrics are true.  It leaves me with a desire to be married yet with none of the bad aftertaste found in the typical mainstream music and society.  Relish this piece of true beauty!

While writing this I also thought of how if we want to transform the media and the culture, we must be willing to support places that are striving to do just that.  I want to see a change in what is being offered in the culture but if I do not support them, how are they to succeed?  So just when I needed it, I received an invitation to support a movie that speaks of the dignity of the human person.  I accepted the invitation and I would like to extend it to you.  While it isn’t speaking of the human sexuality of the person being trampled upon, it nevertheless is speaking about the inherent dignity of each individual regardless of the context of the situation.  Please support them in prayer and money and pass it along to your friends and family.  If we want to see this culture change, it will be through a group effort.  And it will require sacrifice.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/450183161/frohe-ostern-movie?ref=live

P.S. God is ridiculously and madly in love with you.  He is pouring His mercy out upon you but He needs you to accept this mercy and glory in it.  This unfathomable love doesn’t really make sense–but that is probably why it is called “Divine Mercy.”  No mere human person is capable of that kind of love and mercy.  But glory to God we have a God who not only provides for the weak and the lowly (i.e. you and me) but loves to do that. 

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.