Good Friday or Christmas Day, this message rings in the season. In this clip, the film producers spent the day talking with people who were going to spend their Christmas on the streets. You can find more on The Dream Dealer here.
We wait for the phone to ring.
For the obligatory college briefing call.
(As long as you feed from the trough, you’ll call home on Sunday. Non-negotiable.)
Rachel jabbering. Eric tight lipped…leaking information on a need-to-know basis.
Not last night.
Big day for me on Tuesday Dad.
I forgot it’s his 20th birthday.
You forgot right?
Of course not.
Of course you did.
You know that I’m leaving for El Salvador on Saturday.
I’ll be taking vitals…blood pressure, temperature…and recording it.
Dad, I’ve been told there will be thousands, all waiting for medical care.
We’ll be readying patients for the doctors and dentists.
And then feeding homeless at night.
I’m dressing for work this morning.
I check the weather app. -5° F with wind chill.
How many children are huddled and shivering in the cold? Hungry. A soda can and not much else in the fridge for breakfast. Not in El Salvador. Here. Right here.
I reach for a t-shirt. Folded. Stacked. Clean. White.
I’m drawn to the label. I squint to read the small print.
XL 100% Pima Cotton. Machine wash warm with like colors. Only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble Dry Low. Warm Iron if needed. Made in Bangladesh.
Made in Bangladesh.
It’s lunch. It’s a small informal gathering. Light conversation.
Discussion turns to summer vacations. And rolls around the table clockwise. One is going to the Far East with family. Another to the Cape. A third to Montreal.
The must see art exibits. The lazy days at the beach. Late afternoon cappucinos at the outdoor cafes on the cobblestone streets. Evenings spent people watching from the hotel veranda. The concerts on the grass.
I feign a glance at my watch and look right. I can sense the uneasiness. She’s shifting uncomfortably. Rubbing her hands. Her forehead is glistening. (Dr. Cal Lighman, Lie to Me, flashes up.)
It’s her turn. Everyone’s eyes shift and wait. An uncomfortable silence. A pause in the discussion of the world tours. There’s a surge in my chest. [Read more...]
I board the 5:59 am Metro North train to Grand Central.
I settle in with the morning news. Rifling through the papers. Eyes scanning headlines. Going no deeper. Distracted. Then annoyed at my lack of focus. I turn to my work papers to prep for my late morning meeting. Mind wanders again. I toss them in my bag in frustration. I lean my head against the window. Close my eyes. And listen.
There’s no conversation. No disturbance of the clickety clack except for the periodic rough jostling of the rail cars on uneven rails. This being no high-speed train.
Conductor breaks the rhythm.
“Tickets. Tickets please.”
I pull the ticket out of my shirt pocket.
Conductor stops five rows up.
“Sir, these tickets are for non-peak rides.”
Soft voice responds but words are undecipherable.
“No, sir. You will need to purchase Peak ride tickets.”
Other riders now rubbernecking to check out the break in morning routine. [Read more...]
“I talk about love, forgiveness, social justice; I rage against American materialism in the name of altruism, but have I even controlled my own heart? The overwhelming majority of time I spend thinking about myself, pleasing myself, reassuring myself, and when I am done there is nothing to spare for the needy. Six billion people live in this world, and I can only muster thoughts for one. Me.”
~ Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Go without a coat; find out what cold is. Go hungry; keep your existence lean. Wear away the fat, get down to the lean tissue and see what it’s all about. The only time you define your character is when you go without. In times of hardship, you find out what you’re made of and what you’re capable of. If you’re never tested, you’ll never define your character.
~ Henry Rollins
Agustin is from Siguatepeque, Honduras. He was born “lame with his right leg shorter than his left.” He was later struck with polio leaving him severely disabled from the legs down. He dreamed of being a pilot but because of his disability, he couldn’t fly. He turned his energy to building his own helicopter largely from parts found at the trash dumps. He started building in 1958. He is still pursuing his dream today more than one-half a century later with his helicopter still under construction.
His Minister: “I don’t know what he’s paying for his helicopter in the ultimate sense. I think he’s paid a lot for that helicopter. I think he’s paid an awful lot. You might say what has he gotten out of it? I don’t know. Maybe its kept him alive. Maybe its been able to conquer loneliness. Maybe its been able to conquer poverty.”
Agustin later in the story explains: “The problem is that everything is incredible and people just don’t accept it.”
This video is beautiful. Sad. Touching. And inspiring.
And, yes, Agustin, we are blessed. And everything is incredible. And often times we take it for granted.
Good Sunday morning.
- Sunday Morning: Of Souls & Water…
- Sunday Morning: What did you leave behind
- Did you enjoy your story?
- Sunday Morning: Holi. Festival of Colors.