“Thou art the Path,
And the Goal that paths never reach;
Thou art the Lawful Lord
In Whom laws are lost
Like rivers in the sea…” Dhan Gopal Mukerji
Normally I speak or at least acknowledge people if we cross paths. However, there are times when I just don’t feel like it. Not because I’m in a bad mood necessarily. But sometimes our thoughts are pregnant with other matters. That day, I was very pregnant. You could even go as far to say my water had broken. All I wanted to do was find a place to sit down, vegetate, and devour the plain and simple lunch I had brought, which consisted of a gourmet burger and homemade fries. There was a vacant picnic table up ahead so I made my way there. That’s when I noticed this old Asian guy staring at me.
Having someone just staring at me caused my attitude reflex to takeover. After all, my mother taught us that staring (especially without speaking) was impolite. I mean the dude didn’t even bother to blink. Again, under “normal” circumstances I would have at least nodded in his direction. But for some reason, his uncompromising gaze was really starting to irritate me. My mind immediately began to flood with negativity. I began thinking about all the times I had been suspiciously watched in Asian grocery stores as if I were going to steal something. Or the times Chinese restaurant owners made it clear that they wanted my business but not my presence in their establishments.
By now, I had a full blown attitude towards this guy— a guy I didn’t even know, cared to know, nor even bothered to acknowledge. So I began staring back at him from behind my sun glasses daring him to say something. He didn’t. Instead he just kept staring, until finally, he had enough. He grabbed something and started walking towards me. Of course, I’m thinking “bring it on”—“I know you don’t want any of this!” That’s when he put several sizeable pieces of prime cut on my plate. What?! Are you kidding me?
But the guy never said a word. He simply smiled and walked away.
Somehow, somewhere within I mustered the words, “thank you.” Yet I’m not sure if my words were even discernible because the words themselves were undone by complete embarrassment. I felt ashamed. Not because I was a bad person, but because I professed to be a follower of Christ. He didn’t know that about me, but I did. But isn’t that the point? He didn’t know that about me because I did a poor job of representing the love of God’s kingdom.
I don’t know nor do I care what religion this man ascribed to. Perhaps he avowed no religion at all. All I know is that at that very moment he was a greater example of a Christian than I.