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He Who Is Last

Two days ago, on my way to work I walked past a homeless man kneeling before his carts of junk praying. He did the sign of the cross, stood and then went on with his day. His skin was dark and leathery, his face was ashen and his clothes were putrid, but he didn’t look crazy.

I was completely floored by this man’s humility, and then shamed by it. Although I bless my food and I do pray as much as I can remember, I can’t remember the last time I fell to my knees in supplication. I haven’t complained once since seeing this. It is so easy in New York City to believe that you don’t have enough, don’t make enough, just aren’t enough of whatever it is you are trying to be. In the city of 8 million stories we swim daily in a rough sea of excess. But there are those among us --- in plain sight --- who have absolutely nothing and somehow manage to make it through the same day someone like myself might consider unbearable.

If I had had a camera I would’ve taken a picture and kept it as a reminder whenever I’m ready to start down a pointless path littered with complaints. Do I strive to do more? Yes. Do I strive to be more? Yes. But I am able to feed and clothe my family and myself and although I am not exactly fulfilled by my work, my work does allow me some financial freedoms --- luxuries I’m sure by that homeless man’s standards. Life is too short to spend it complaining. I’m not going to suggest prayer, as praying isn’t for everyone, but the only thing complaining does is make life worse and give unpleasant, but manageable situations, large teeth and fangs. I’ve been donating to charities lately in an effort to take the focus off me and put it on those in real need. The reward I’ve felt has been indescribable. I encourage everyone to try at least once in their lives.

Interested in making a donation to those in need? Click here.

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