A TINY BIT OF LOVE
"My friend Bill Cotton wrote this biblical commentary: "The Harpers Index for May 2017 estimated the combined net worth of Donald Trump’s cabinet, twelve members, to be $61,380,600.00.
I am sitting here thinking about that number and the image of a young woman keeps interrupting. The mother of two, she was our waitress for breakfast one morning. (My wife Jan waited tables to help get through college, so she always likes to visit with the servers.) The woman looked tired. And she would soon leave this eight-hour shift to take a second job at the local McDonalds. We estimated that her combined pay from two jobs averaged about $15.00 per hour. By working two jobs plus tips, she might make ends meet if nothing breaks on the car or they don’t cancel her food assistance because her earnings pushed her over the limit allowed. Hers is a fragile existence. Sometimes the sitter doesn’t show, or a child is sick. With an old car and rent, and some good tips, perhaps she will have enough to make it to the end of the month –when and if the child support check arrives. The one saving grace is her “Obamacare” health insurance, and a free clinic in a local church that also provides free meals.
Those men and women sitting around that cabinet table have little awareness of this woman’s world. It’s not that they are bad uncaring people, but their wealth and lifestyle simply insulates and muffles the sounds and cries of so many. And they will see nothing wrong with supporting Congress as it re-writes the nation’s health care program, which will allow them to add to their billions in tax savings off the back of this woman and so many others.
A biblical image can give clarity to the number. Remember when Pharaoh was frustrated because work was going too slow and the slaves were not keeping up the production schedule with pyramid building. So he increased their workload but no longer furnished straw to mix with the mortar. This meant they had to somehow find their own straw for the bricks. Ironically, they were building his tomb. After a while, Moses convened them to resist (the first recorded labor stoppage) as they sought freedom from tyranny.
Meanwhile, I sit thinking about the plight of this woman. And I also know that many readers are thinking of all the reasons why she is in trouble. They may even blame her for the sorry mess. Too many of us have hardened our hearts to the plight of the poor. Meanwhile we recently voted in a regime that allows the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the few at the expense of the rest of us. And by the way, if congress kills the Affordable Care Act, each cabinet member will receive an enormous tax cut.
These days I carry with me the image of a young woman with an aging tired face carrying those large trays of food –and the number sixty-one billion, three hundred and eighty million, six hundred thousand plus change will not go away. Meanwhile old Pharaoh sits in splendid isolation at the head of the Cabinet table, and “the help” knows to bring him a second scoop of ice cream when the dessert arrives. So much for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the rest of us. Ironically, I wrote these thoughts in the same month that brings Bastille Day—a time when common folk finally had enough." Dr. Tex Sample
Jesus was the greatest revolutionary of all when he tells us to "love our neighbors as ourselves,", they got him killed. We need to center on ourselves and our acts of loving our neighbor, for if each one of us follows the words of Helen Keller: "I can not do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse the something I can do," we can change the world. For when we spend time with someone who is homeless, feed, listen, and come to an understanding of that person, our own life changes, and our actions move out into the world, and we touch others. When we "bear one another's burdens," (Galatians 6:2) we walk with that person as an equal. Each little action ripples into larger actions. That is the secret to revolution. Deo Gratias!
+Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.
P.O. Box 642656
San Francisco, CA 94164
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