Tuesday, January 19, 2016

It's his kindness.  That's what stands out.  He was kind.  That's a large part of it.  He expressed kindness and empathy to...  well, the kind of people no one else really wanted to touch or do much about.  Not extreme people, just the sort of people that a society might shrug about, 'Oh, well, what can you do..."  The kind of people the busy life of a city and directed aims and targeted tasks has to ignore.  By which I mean, the sufferers in our own midst.  Ourselves even.

Us.  The salt of the earth.  Not the particular, not the specially set apart as those in need of particular charity to be tended to in some professional way, but people, people with all the illnesses and things that flesh is heir to...

Jesus brought kindness to them.  He listened.  And kind of like dried out house plants, his kindness was water, and sticking with them the kindness had its effect in the way that it truly does.  Demons departed.  Of course they did.  A person suddenly found a kind therapeutic ear, a voice, an eye that understood everything.

Something which really should be present in all our lives.  But which isn't, because of professional titles and all that career stuff.  Professional realms which are good, which do work, but in turn cannot offer that ultimate simple kindness of which the need is so plainly evident in everything humanity touches.

"An onion."  Somewhere in The Brothers Karamazov, giving an onion to a hungry peasant woman... Dostoevsky, his eye focusses on the simple thing, like bread.  An onion.  A symbol, an act of grace.

"Wow,, this guy is kind to me, after everyone else just shrugged, too bad, and went on their way.  And I don't blame them, because, you know, it's not like they can heal you or give you immediately a new life, shelter, care, that sort of a thing."  Jesus stopped, and listened, was thoughtful and kind, and wasn't stuck too much on tradition.  New wine, old wine, new garments, old ones...  You have to listen to the story, see it reenacted, get the oral tradition to feel it.  Just reading it, not bringing it to life and to a sort of vision, you miss something.  Because it's music, spiritual music, music which you can play in your own head, to your own benefit, good for the brain.  It's not so much logical, but, from the heart, therefore satisfying.

Really, what did he do?  He was nice to people.  He listened, he saw.  He fed people.  He let it be okay that they drank wine, were fishermen, were not infallible.  Incredibly kind.  Even sacrificing himself, of course.  No wonder he liked his time up in the hills by himself, detoxing, cleansing his mind from the tacit unkindness that he saw, the making of deviants out of people stricken with problems not so much of their own making, health stuff, crazy minds...

He was a good person to go to a baseball game with, a good forgiver, a good acknowledger of people, individuals, the soul of individuals...  And yes, the opposite kind of a thing to that of, say, the old Soviet system of everyone being soulless comrade worker advancing the purposes chosen by the state.

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