Car 6

Car 6

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It Started Here

The idea to start this blog began in the wake of having written the following editorial column in a local paper in the Chicago Area called "The LockPort Legend". I've written there about once a month for a few years now.

When I wrote this, I had some unexpected things happen. Many in the religious and political community locally stopped talking to me and almost every cab driver, dispatcher and even the owner of our cab company loved it. That meant more to me than any other accolade I have ever received about my writing. I told the right story. I told their story and our story.  For now, I will let the article speak for itself.

Night moves
by Pastor Pat Green, Provincial Minister, San Damiano Province
November 06, 2013
I don't get paid as a minister. I have to seek my paycheck elsewhere. Over the last five years that has included consulting, being a spiritual director, designing websites and officiating an occasional wedding or funeral. Over the last month, I've been working as a night shift cab driver in Will County.
There are some wonderful things about this job. The people of the night
are very colorful. In the short time that they are in my cab, they tell me
their dreams, fears, frustrations and secrets. Most have a story to tell and
they tell it with passion. Like superheroes with a secret identity, there are
people who are artists, poets, philosophers and musicians cleverly
disguised as cardiologists, bartenders and warehouse employees. There are dreams. Some dreams may never be realized and others are works in process or memories of dreams fulfilled.

There is also something wonderful about being part of very good things. I take people home who had too much to drink and don't want to drive. I take people to clinics or hospitals for important treatments. People get to and from work. Visitors to our area are taken from hotels to entertainment venues. Families get to and from the airport to enjoy their vacations.
There is also a darker side to the night.
I'm processing and grieving the death of fantasy land right now. A world that was neat and tidy has been replaced with one that is simultaneously beautiful and horrific. No matter how I try to rationalize it, our neighborhood becomes something else after dark. In many ways, the darkness and horror I see is a failure of the church, the government and society. The beauty that I see often comes from a spirit and love that doesn't care about the shortcomings of the institutions.
I think the most disturbing aspect is the behavior of some in upper and comfortable middle class. They travel into "lesser" neighborhoods to have their fill of the lower class by way of sensual entertainment and recreational pharmaceuticals. I've been recognized by some of these individuals. They tip very well or threaten me in the hopes that I'll keep my silence. This is exploitation of the suffering for carnal entertainment. They get to return to their nice home with a 50-inch LCD TV and heated bathroom floor while the others live in judgement, scorn and poverty. No amount of donated monies, school supplies or canned goods makes that all right.
I'll be honest, I don't know what the answers are to help the least of these. But I know we have to do more — not just write checks to others or click like to support something. We need to get involved.
In Matthew 25, Jesus says: "The king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'
"Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
"And the king will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
He then went on to say what happens to those who do not aid the least of these. It ain't pretty. The least of these are among us every day. I don't care if you are a Christian, a Muslim or an atheist, we have neighbors who need our love, our compassion and our humanity. Jesus is in them. He is in the hooker, the junkie, the alcoholic and the homeless.

The opinions in this column are that of the writer. They do not necessarily reflect those of 22nd Century Media and its staff.

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