HomeboyIndLogosI went to a conference in San Diego last week, and the weirdest thing happened.  I got motivated by a motivational speaker.  I’m serious.  This guy had me whipped into a froth.  He took me down to Chinatown, brought me to Jesus, and carried me home.  He is a Jesuit, which based on what I saw, means he is a practitioner of his preaching.  He said a lot of things, many of them not easily forgotten, but one on my mind this morning is, “God is the person standing in front of you.”  He relayed that message second-hand from some centenarian theologian and for me that question is now closed.

I tried to put it into practice yesterday, when a young woman jumped out of a car at an intersection as I was walking by.  She was crying, truly sobbing, and as this thought was on my mind I thought, “Oh look, here comes God.”  I asked her if she was okay and it startled her, but she stopped and looked at me back, perhaps seeing God also, or just a tired, bald white man.

“Do you want to talk about it?”  I asked.  “No.” She said, “I just want to go home.”  “Okay, I can call for a cab if you like, and we can get you home.”

“I’m from Jacksonville.” She said, which is about a $450 cab ride from Tallahassee.  “Oh, I don’t think I can get you to Jacksonville.” I said, in a new, close-hearted voice.  The thought that this was a scam, and I was the mark, fleeted through my mind.

“Oh, I can’t get you to Jacksonville.” I told her.  Sometimes God asks too much you know?  And just that quick it was over.

“I have money.” She said defensively, “I just don’t feel like being in this town anymore.” She wasn’t stupid. She caught my little judgmental tone.

And just like that I ceased to be God standing in front of her and became my own flawed self.  Being God is tough!

The heart is after all, just a muscle, and it needs to be exercised.


(Click the Homeboy Industries logo to hear from Father Boyle.)

5 Responses to Kinship

  1. I have heard Father Boyle on NPR and he made me put my hand on the radio and say AMEN! because he is the real, real deal and you are right.
    Stephen Gaskin said this thing once which was something like- If you see a situation and you wonder where God is and why he isn’t taking care of it you have to realize that YOU are God in that situation, or his eye, at least and it’s up to you to take care of it.
    I think about that a whole lot.

  2. Too many folks get too used to looking out for themselves. They forget to look out for, or sometimes even recognize, their fellow man. I’ve always seen you as high on the list of folks that get it, and do what they can. But by being that guy, there is always a push inside to reach a little further, and help a little more. That’s what drives, and that drive must be answered, lest you lose part of what defines you. Not all that defines us is necessarily good, but that one is worth the effort.

    Thanks again for setting my mind to turning, J. Hope to cross paths sooner than later.