Stare Into the Pit

This entry was posted by on Wednesday, 1 February, 2006 at

I was in Paris for Christmas last year. Walking back from church the Sunday before, I passed through the Jardin de Tuileries. A young woman approached me, asked if I spoke English and handed me a note. It basically said that she was a refugee from Sarajevo (or somewhere in that area, I forget exactly where), and that she needed money for food for her mother and herself. I did not want to give her money. I did not bother to explain that I only had American currency that would not be of much use to her- largely because that wasn’t actually true. I had a 20 euro note that my mother had given me the previous year, but I was not about to give that away, for a couple of reasons, neither of which is good. I don’t think I even told her that I was sorry, perhaps because I wasn’t sorry, but more likely because I did not want to betray the fact that I spoke fluent English, and leave her to wonder if I actually understood her note. (Although the fact that I stared at it long enough to have read the whole thing ought to leave little doubt there.) She proceeded to follow me through the Jardin, and I kept saying simply, “Non,” while wondering if she was going to follow me all the way home. Eventually, she left me alone.

In the past, I have given both money and time to various charitable causes, but I did not help her, for no real reason other than that I just did not feel like it. And do not forget, I was on my way back from church.

I mention this incident, not because I see it as a low point in my life, but rather because I think it is merely one of the more interesting examples of what is my typical way of dealing with people. My interactions are almost exclusively for my own benefit and/or at my own convenience.

Whenever I think about the resources and the opportunities that I have been given, how little I use them, and how little I even care, I quickly come to the conclusion that I fully deserve to be beaten unrecognizable, nailed to piece of wood and left for dead.

Now, it has been mentioned more than once that I have a tendency to be harder on myself than most people. If that be true, I can only presume that most people do not have as much darkness on their soul.

I think it fair to say that I am mostly like not going to be tortured and killed, regardless of what I may deserve. There are some who say that this is because, a long time ago, someone else declared, “It’s cool… this one’s on me.” I can definitely see how that would be a great comfort to someone like me, if only they should happen to believe it.

There are, of course, a great many people in the world who are being tortured and killed as we speak. Children even. So what about them? Do they simply deserve that fate more than I?

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