By Victor Sanchez
Wednesday night I’m awakened to sound of the dogs in the neighborhood barking out of control. I run to my gun locker fumbling for the keys; I grab a shotgun. I peek through the upstairs curtain to see what’s going on.
I see movement coming from the trash cans and notice the old rusty shopping cart full of cans and bottles. Then I remember it’s the night before trash day, and I see the older gentleman rummaging around the blue bin on the curb. Like clockwork he’s there every Wednesday night. You think by now I would already know, but he gets me every time.
I don’t know what circumstance brings him to my blue bins every Wednesday, but he’s there. He never says a word; he’s never startled by the dogs. He goes through the trash with his head lamp on fully committed unfazed by the smell and refuse. One by one, every blue bin on the 400 block of Bradrick, every Wednesday night.
We’ve all seen him manifested in different ways in our life. Some of you see him on a street corner begging for change. Others in the form of a mother with her kids holding a sign in front of a store, and still, some off the freeway ramp. We might have handed him the change from our ash trays. Some maybe a couple of bucks out of our pocket. Some might have just thought “not today”, as we try to avoid eye contact waiting for the light to turn green; and some might have just dismissed him all together because of our own bias.
Whatever his manifestation, his circumstance is always the same. He’s poor. A man in need. A man that has a need that supersedes his pride. Whether addiction or survival, he finds himself in a situation that he cannot make it through the day without the help, compassion and mercy of another.
Have you ever had a blue bin moment? Have you ever found yourself asking for help or having to swallow your pride by driving down to the pawn shop once again to get a loan because the kids need to eat and the bills don’t stop?
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Whenever I read this, I always interpret it as blessed are poor people and that God was going to somehow let them win the lottery or at least something to that effect. So, it never really made any sense because I still see him everywhere begging, asking, filling his cart with cans. Putting his watch on the pawn shop counter.
It didn’t register until Thursday night putting the cans away. Blessed are the poor. When you really reach a place where your need supersedes your pride you find yourself digging through piles of garbage just for one can. He hits the streets the night before trash day, pushing all that weight house to house, knowing that some kid that doesn’t know need will make an insulting remark. He’ll destroy every ounce of self-worth that you have left with a quick laugh and a smile. But he goes about it relentlessly. He doesn’t stop at just one house; he doesn’t just skim over the top to see if anything catches his attention. He dives in, sometimes successful, and sometimes not, but he keeps at it. He keeps going because he knows that this is the only way out. He will endure the cramps, the ridicule, the sweat and the tiredness because he needs hope.
When we are truly poor in spirit it means that we realize our situation. It means that we wake up to an old addiction that’s calling us back. It means we struggle with feelings of self-worth. It means that we need just enough from God to make it through a moment. Or that day it means that we know that we cannot do this on our own because we do not have the ability or the strength to carry on. It means that it would be easier to just give up and give in, and it always feels like it’s an option. This is where our need is superseding our pride.
This is when we are truly poor in spirit. This is when we reach out to God in the middle of the night crying, asking for help. This is when we dig through the bible not fully understanding every word, but we’re there looking for something. This is where you call your brother for help in the middle of temptation because you just can’t do this on your own. This is when you don’t care what people think as you again walk your way to the altar every Sunday for prayer. This is the Blue Bin Wednesday.
We are all born with the same void. We are all in need of God. None of us can do it on our own. You must realize your need, and regardless of the cost, reach out. God has never left us alone. Once you’ve realized you’re poor in spirit, look to be blessed.
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