The other day, I was walking down a street and about to turn into a place, when I noticed about a block up ahead an older woman walking with cane. She was coming toward me, but I noticed something: she was taking the shortest of steps. So I paused and watched from a distance to see how she was doing. As she crossed the street at a snail’s pace, the drivers in the cars going the other way were waiting.
I decided to take a walk up the street to see if she needed a hand. When I finally reached her, she had completed about a third of the street crossing. “Excuse me, would like a hand?” I said. “Oh yes, that would be wonderful.” So I moved around to her left side and extended my elbow so she could grab on. And we took off: now a little *more* than a snail’s pace.
Before we got to the other side, I had already asked her where she was going. To the church, she said. The same place I was about to turn into before I saw her. She had swollen legs and her head was hunched over, and when she walked she looked unsteady. As we were getting nearer, a group of people who had left the church walked by. “Do you want a ride?” they asked. “No,” she said, “I’m just going to the church.” As we moved along, she explained how she had this condition for a while, and I asked her if she liked it when people ask her if she needs help. “Yes, I do,” she said with a lift in her voice.
“The wonderful thing about my condition is that I get to see the good in people like her all the time.”
I was in a Franciscan community for some time about 10 years ago. Without having money, we would ask people for food and other things. I remember then how amazed I was that people would always give. People would ask me if anyone got angry or if I was ever denied. No, I said. People always gave. I learned that when you are at the bottom, one thing is always true: you get to see the good in people.
There is a story in John’s Gospel about Jesus curing a man born blind. He goes and washes in a pool and then he can see. It’s then that the Pharisees refuse to accept that it was Jesus who did it. Or that he was even blind to begin with. The know-it-alls, the people on top, can’t see the good that has happened. But the blind man can.
It’s because he’s on the bottom. So he’s the one that gets the miracle and the lifting. He’s the one gets to see the ultimate good.
If you are living in a way where you’re at the bottom – socially, physically, mentally, financially, spiritually – in any way, and it looks grim, don’t be worried. God gives helps. They do come, when it’s time. God gives something special to people at the bottom. You’ll get to experience what most people never get a chance to.
You’ll get to see the good.
“I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” (Jn 9:39)