AGMA’s at my new favorite place to write in Chicago.
It’s a lovely little French bistro that, having been to France quite often myself, is very authentic. And they have a lovely shaded outdoor patio with wifi that is perfect for virus dodging and blogging.
I was all set to write my normal, slightly witty, Erma Bombeckesque post with a few pointed shots as the Traitor in Chief woven into the story. And with the RNC wrapping up yesterday, the possibilities for pointed shots are kind of endless.
But that all changed.
Sitting at my bistro table, eating my huge Parsian sammy and drinking my mocha with an extra shot, a Latina woman approached me. And she came a little too close. I asked her to social distance herself.
Little did I know exactly how socially distanced we really were.
She asked me for some money. She explained that she had 4 kids and her rent was going up. Could I help her?
And kind hearted, generous AGMA reached into her purse and gave her $2.
This from a woman who just spent $54 on 3 masks. But they are really cool masks. And part of the proceeds go to some charity that I can’t recall. So I felt pretty good about that.
$2 from a woman who professes to be a follower of Christ who taught that all that we have comes from God (Luke 12:22-26). And about how to whom much has been given, much will be required (Luke 12:48).
And then there’s the story of the sheep and the goats. This is a gut punch one. Even Hubs, who is an agnostic, knows this one. It’s the one AGMA is pretty sure the so called “Christians” who support The Great Orange Bonespur have never read.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brother and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”
The above was just a snippet of the whole passage. Read to the end to find out what’s in store for the evangelical MAGA crowd…
But maybe not just the evangelical MAGA crowd.
AGMA and Hubs are not wealthy in the way we generally think of wealth here in the US. But compared to the rest of the world, we are loaded.
After I gave her the $2, she again talked about her 4 children. Then she asked if she could have part of my sandwich.
And then a most horrible thing happened.
AGMA morphed into a MAGA-ite.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have had 4 kids if you can’t feed them”
I didn’t say it out loud (I thank God for that!), but I thought it. And that’s just as bad.
(FOR CRYING OUT LOUD AGMA, THERE’S A PANDEMIC HAPPENING AND MILLIONS HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??)
I told her no, she couldn’t have part of my huge sandwich. The sandwich I was only 1/3 of the way done eating. The sandwich I really didn’t need to eat the rest of because I have gained so much weight over the past 6 months.
I wouldn’t share my f*cking sandwich with her.
And she just stood there looking at me, then walked away.
After a few minutes of being defensive with myself and trying to justify what I did, AGMA felt ashamed. Actually, ashamed doesn’t really begin to describe it.
I have no reason for why I did what I did. No excuse.
I’ve felt for a long time now that I’m an imposter. I talk and write a good game, but I am really no better than those I criticize so brutally for their lack of compassion and generosity of material goods and spirit.
I’m all for giving to the poor. As long as I don’t have to sacrifice too much. As long as I am comfortable. As long as I have $54 to spend on cute masks. And I don’t have to share my sandwich.
I’m all in on BLM protests and protests against white supremacy. Let’s take down those Confederate statues and other symbols of oppression. Let’s protest against the anti-LGBT, anti-choice and anti-immigrant movements. That is, as long as I don’t have to take any risks or the protests don’t come to my neighborhood.
There is a huge disconnect between who I think I am and who I really am.
There’s the AGMA of my imagination… Magnamous, generous, empathetic, brave.
And then there’s the me I witnessed today and suspected was there for a while – judgmental, greedy, suspicious, afraid.
I know that a lot of you have no religious affiliation and I get that. I also get if if you think what I am about to say is nonsense and magical thinking.
But reflecting back to the silent moments between us, after I told this woman she couldn’t have part of my sandwich, and the way she looked at me with sadness in her eyes, I felt as if God was looking at me. And right through me.
It was the look I used to give my kids when they did something that was beneath who I knew they were. It was the look that said, “You screwed up today, but I still love you more than anything else. And I know you can do better because you are a good person and better than what you’ve just done.”
I can’t think of a more important time for us to be our best selves. To live up to who we think we are. To quote an overused, but a pertinent to our times phrase, to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
I pray that this woman finds financial relief and food security for herself and her children. That she comes in contact with people who have the resources and will to help her. People who walk the walk. People who show mercy.
In the meantime, AGMA is going to try to reboot.
And try to figure out who I am.