What We Do Not KnowAuthor: Byron Pulsifer, © 2012
The hustle of everyday life has a way of taking you through each day without seeing anything that isn't connected to where you are going or what you have to do. Each day can pass by with only cursory glances at those who cross your path. But, there are other times when something seems to strike you as odd and gets your immediate attention.
I was taking a short cut to the train and walked down a street I seldom used and came upon a street vendor selling coffee and muffins. I at first was not in the least bit interested but there was something about the man standing behind the cart that made take a second glance. He was wearing a shirt and a tie, which was totally out of character for street vendors so I decided to stop and buy a cup of coffee and maybe a little chat. I couldn't help but be curious.
As I purchased the coffee, I struck up a conversation asking him if he had been here in this spot for long?
He started to respond by saying that he had been set up here for the past seven months or so but there wasn't much business. He went on to say that he couldn't locate in any high traffic area because the spots were already taken. I went on to ask him where he got his muffins from and he told me that they were home made by his wife and baked fresh early every morning.
It turned out that he was recently laid off from his work where he had been a mechanical engineer for over twenty years. He was another casualty from the work slowdown and the advent of sending work overseas to a cheaper labor pool. He had been steadily looking for work but had to do something to pay his bills so he decided to become a street vendor - something he could barely afford to do but what choice did he have.
As I spoke to him a little longer, I found out a lot more about him, his wife and his new street vendor business. As he told me, although he could barely find enough money to start his new business, it had progressed to the point where he was able to pay his bills and have a little money left over. It wasn't a lot of money, but he had a good idea what he was going to do with what money he did have. He told me that he was going to purchase another cart and set up another vendor and pay him from the profits. He said that while he would rather be an engineer, he was not about to go on welfare when he was quite able to actually make ends meet and then some.
I wasn't sure this was a sense of pride coming out or his natural inner spirit that would not just give in to circumstances. I am more apt to think, however, that he has an inner strength that some may call perseverance. This kind of attitude and life force will always see people to do better than those who believe that they should just let the cookie crumble as it may.
You never know whom you are going to meet when you open your eyes. It isn't usually a situation that attracts us to situations but only that we are human and sometimes curious. But, we often carry prejudices or preconceived notions around in our heads of who and what other people should look like or behave like. And, when we do this, we are forgetting that God did not intend any of us to be better than anyone else or to judge by clothes alone.
To judge is to think you are better than someone else especially when you have absolutely no basis to do it. This judgment is not the way of christian people.
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