Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Child of God


My nephew, in lieu of a summer job, slings his guitar over his shoulder every morning and heads to Old Town, Virginia where he earns his keep as a street musician. His dad took that photo of him setting up, above. Yesterday, his mother called him as he was headed home on the bus. "Did you make a lot of money today," she asked him. He hesitated, then said, "I did something different today. I'll tell you about it later." 

His mom, my cousin who is like my sister, forgot to follow up until this morning, when she asked her firstborn son how the day before had gone. It turns out this beautiful young man, feeling grateful for all the cash he had earned from playing on the street (and believe me, he does very well with this), decided he wanted to give back. So he left his guitar at home, put sixty dollars in his pocket and took the train into Washington D.C. to a part of town where he had seen many homeless people. And that afternoon he took three homeless men to lunch, one after the other. He sat with each one as they ate and talked with them and listened to their story. One was 57 years old who said he was being watched by the FBI and that Bill Clinton was trying to kill him. Another, in his forties, cried because he hadn't seen his family in years. The third was an addict who hadn't been able to kick the habit. My nephew talked with each of these men about their lives and what they were feeling. After the three lunches he had twelve dollars left so he gave it to an elderly apparently homeless man whom he often sees sitting on a bench near the bus shelter.

His mother was moved to tears. She said, "The next time I am complaining to you because there is a science experiment growing in the bathroom that he hasn't cleaned, please remind me that my son is a very good person." 

The thing that strikes me most powerfully about his giving back was the way he acknowledged each of these men's humanity. He didn't just press a few dollars into their hands and leave. He bought them lunch and then sat and talked with them, and by the very act of spending time with them, asking about their lives, listening to them, he let them know they were valued.

He is 19 years old, this boy. But his soul is as old as the hills.

23 comments:

  1. What a beautiful young man, both in face and spirit. You must all be so proud of him.

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  2. Are you kidding me?! A part of me can not believe this (Im not doubting you at all) because what I see of the same aged kids around me is the exact opposite.
    This is amazing. Amazing. It warmed my heart.
    So much love for you nephew.

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  3. Your nephew and your children (previous post) are truly inspirational!

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  4. He is beautiful inside and out. At 19 how has he become so wise? I love him.

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  5. WOW. I'm struck with wonder.

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  6. Wow...when I think of all of the people I have known who love to moan and gripe and only do things because they bring recognition or attention, I am once again reminded that some people are quite different...

    I hope your nephew does something wonderful with his life. An old soul and a good one.

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  7. It's humbling to admit that as bad as it's been, and it's been bad...every problem that I have ever had in my life is so totally a first world problem. I am grateful for every perk that I was given being born at this time and in this country. That being said, it gets bad here. And life can suck the soul out of you. So nice there are people like your nephew who are there to lift up those who are on the bottom.

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  8. Wow. What an amazing story. I wish I had that much courage and selflessness.

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  9. That is truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

    How proud you all must be of this young man (and rightfully so).

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  10. Beautiful, inside and out, that young man. Yes, most important was the time he spent, letting them tell their stories and be acknowledged. This post made me very happy. Xo

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  11. I wish stories like this was on the 6 o'clock news. Inspiring.

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  12. He is a Bodhisattva. God Bless him. This is true compassion and love.
    Thank you for sharing that.
    xxoo

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  13. Nice to know there are young people that kind.

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  14. This post belongs to the realm of Faith in Humanity Restored.

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  15. I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for this. We need to hear these stories.

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  16. Your nephew has an amazing heart!

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  17. He is radiant. I think you should submit this to The New Yorker. More people need to hear unadulterated good with no irony, sarcasm, or resignation.

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  18. Darling friends, thank you for holding this good-hearted young man in your hearts. He really is a pure soul. He did this thing without telling anyone, and if his mother had not asked none of us would even have known. I so appreciate your appreciation of him. Love to you all.

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  19. Replies
    1. Thank you, Mwa. Nice to see you here.

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    2. It's good to visit. So good I've added you to my newsfeed. I'm going through your posts and getting a little addicted. I will keep coming back.

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