Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jesus Christ, Superstar

Today on the metro, I was sitting in the back next to this lady, listening to my ipod. I used to try to read books, but I could never focus long enough because--let's just be honest with ourselves--it's the morning. We're a couple stops into my ride when this pair of ladies gets on, one of which looks a bit older so I offer her my seat. She looks extraordinarily grateful to me (which is better than most, who think I should have gotten up a long time ago or forget to say thank you, although there are always the considerate ones) and thanks me and keeps looking at me. I only know this because I was staring at the window (which is really like staring at yourself because of the reflection), jamming along.

Suddenly, I was struck that this was a good time to pray; not just say a little prayer to myself for others though-- a full-out 5 decade prayer to Mary for her intervention and guidance. I always carry my rosary with me and intend to pray, but I usually don't because of a number of reasons. Today, however, the urge to pray was too great and so I got out my rosary and wrapped it around my hand so that I could easily slide my thumb from bead to bead to keep track. I certainly was not being ostentatious about it and kept my head phones in (although the music was off).

Again, I had a feeling the woman wanted to talk to me because she had just been fumbling through her purse. At first I thought she was going to give me money for giving up my seat, which of course I would have refused because that would have been ridiculous. Instead, she brought out a little card and when our eyes met, I took out one of my headphones and she handed me the card which read "Jesus: Our help for today, Our hope for tomorrow." She introduced herself as Pearl and asked my name. She told me to have a blessed day. I just think it was the nicest thing I've ever experienced on the metro.

The priest on Sunday told us in his homily about working with sisters at this shelter and how he was asked to wash this one homeless man. Not only was he homeless though, he was really, really dirty. He told us how he felt uncomfortable and was not quite sure how to, since that was his first time doing anything like that. He told us how he was not treating the man with fullness of heart and Love like the little sisters were doing and the homeless man let him (the priest) know that. Suddenly, he said he was filled with joy in his heart and he said he knew he was encountering Christ. He ran to his fellow priest and said "I have met Christ! and he was really, really dirty." (I loved that line.)

I think we all encounter Christ everyday. Maybe we don't see it, but it's there. I think perhaps by seeing people, each person, as a child of Christ, will really change the perception of the world around you. Saying that, of course, is the easy part because that is really hard to do, especially living in a place like DC. The Hill interns (or "Hillterns") are especially trying on the nerves and soul.

DC has been a wonderful experience thus far and it really has taken the good, the bad and the Hillterns to make me appreciate it.

Today was a good work day: Quin went over my op-ed with me (point: good research, needs to get cut down) and sent me something from the Senate to help me out; lots of copy editing and ordering of books. I found another book to review, so I am excited about that. I'm babysitting one of the editorial writer's kids on Thursday so that he and his wife can go see Harry Potter and I am stoked for that. Jim is a personal favorite and so nice; he's also from Cincinnati originally! Our high schools are a couple miles apart.

Rushing out now--Carol's given me leave to go so that I can catch the 5:15 shuttle and meet Gina for a bit before heading over to FB to have Indian with a friend. Rachel has stories from Chicago to tell me, but I don't think I'll be able to hear them till later in the week...

I re-read Whittaker Chamber's "Letter to my Children" from his book 'Witness.' We read it in American Heritage and it continues to give me chills at how excellent and profound it is. This is one of my favorite parts of it:

"My children, when you were little, we used sometimes to go for walks in our pine woods. In the open fields, you would run along by yourselves. But you used instinctively to give me your hands as we entered those woods, where it was darker, lonelier, and in the stillness our voices sounded loud and frightening. In this book I am again giving you my hands. I am leading you, not through cool pine woods, but up and up a narrow defile between bare and steep rocks from which in shadow things uncoil and slither away. It will be dark. But, in the end, if I have led you aright, you will make out three crosses, from two of which hang thieves. I will have brought you to Golgotha-the place of skulls. This is the meaning of the journey. Before you understand, I may not be there, my hands may have slipped from yours. It will not matter. For when you understand what you see, you will no longer be children. You will know that life is pain, that each of us hangs always upon the cross of himself. And when you know that this is true of every man, woman and child on earth, you will be wise."

As Pearl gave to me, now I say to you: have a blessed day!!


  1. Rob, I memorized that part of "Letter to My Children" (along with other bits) for my last recitation in high school. I probably reread it once a month. I love it, and I love you.

  2. What a great opener for a message I need to hear much more often...