Day 36: Wayne’s Journal Entry 4: About Arjun
I’m finding almost all of what I did for a living is useless here, and much of what I thought about life seems out of place. I love the Baileys not a whit less, and my Mom will always be a zany hippie to me, but her “let the sunshine in” life doesn’t seem such a waste now. The harvest got me in touch with the barefoot boy part of me I had forgotten.
I asked Arjun about his life in India. He ran a charity organization that gave food, clothing, and dignity to the homeless in Calcutta. He had been born high caste, and even though the legal framework of the system was gone, his parents were shocked and disgusted that he would wash the feet of anyone who needed shoes, then put new shoes on their feet. He coordinated food aid and set up a series of halfway houses to help people transition from the streets to productive lives. He says he realizes now how much he was influenced without knowing it by the Christians in India who came to help. He is constantly thankful to be part of Jesus’ “other flock.”
His life was a brochure. As he was describing his charitable work, I kept thinking to myself how I gave a lot of money to charities, but when it came to interacting with the homeless, I avoided them. It was messy having someone with a cardboard sign that says “Pennies help” and “Jesus loves.” Some of them were clearly disabled, like the guy with the limp and the cane who frequented the sidewalk outside my office, or the one near the last intersection before the highway who would repeat “Drive safe. God bless” for hours at a time while shaking a plastic fountain drink cup. I figured I had done my part for them by supporting the shelter, and I tried to ignore them in person.
That was my mistake.