Do the Right Thing
My first encounter with the Shekhinah, with the movement of the spirit was when a stranger, against his own inclinations, decided to help me out of compassion for my suffering that led to him to do the right thing.
A Cussin’ and a Fussin’
I wanted a bicycle. My parents of course, with more money than my cousin who got one didn’t believe in giving money or gifts other than clothes, and those had to be shop worn and at least 80% off to consider for me, wouldn’t buy one.
So I pulled my wagon around and picked up pop bottle empties at 2 cents each to save up money to buy parts. Over some time, I had all the parts I needed to build a Schwinn. The rims I bought were warped, but the best I could do.
I took them to the bicycle shop of a white man who told me they couldn’t be fixed, and to get out of his shop. I explained to him that I was doing to best I could. I asked him to tell me how to do it and I’d do it for myself. After a few minutes of cussing, he decided to help me. He was a cussin’ and a fussin’, but he straightened them for me, and only charged me a dollar apiece.
The Spirit Will Move
The spirit moved between me and that white man that day. Like the spirit moves in a Negro church, but I’d never been any place like that beyond listening to their Tambourines across the Cornfield beside our house. I used to listen to the PPP prayer out of Mississippi, not paying attention to the words, but for the sound. The next time I felt that was in a Buddhist chanting meeting. It’s sort of a tingly shimmering hair-raising being lifted up out of yourself. I grew up in a Lutheran cum Catholic without the Latin, and if you start to feel anything, slap yourself then sit on your hands right away. Greek Platonic stoicism is a part of Western European religion.
When I read Martin Buber’s, I and Thou in college, I was right there with that white man cussing and straightening my rims, spirit moving.
In the Choice to Be Human
Yes, there’s an Us against Them: The ‘us’ that chooses to be human, looking to HaShem, by whatever language terms and frames of reference. Just as I remember every cut, I’ll remember that first encounter with the movement of His spirit at a good deed from yetzer haTov. If what you leave behind isn’t what’s engraved in stone monuments, but what’s woven into the lives of others, that Nameless Stranger that straightened my rims is immortal, in my heart and here; by doing the right thing.
Now, here I am again, being a traitor of the race unable to resist writing the proof on the board that His spirit will move in us all when we do the right thing in the Canaan of Joshua in compassion for All suffering, not only our own. If there is anything my life has taught, it’s that even though doing the right thing loses grades and is attacked as viciously as uppity Negroes in the old-South; though they’ll say anything to humiliate; and stomp anybody who doesn’t accept them as men-as deities, we were brought out to stop the hate.
Prepare the way with a message that reverberates across the world by chosing to be human in compassion for their suffering as well as our own so the He wil, out of compassion for All suffering bring the World to Come from His spirit, His Shekhinah.