Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Ordinary Crucifixion – No. 1

My wife and I were driving around town one Saturday afternoon. We were stuck in traffic right in front of the Allegheny County Jail. It was a beautiful, warm autumn day. Sitting on a bench in front of the jail was a black man, hunched forward, sobbing without restraint into his hands. The bench was facing the road. Traffic was moving very slowly. Everybody got a good look. He was totally oblivious to those gazes. His grief consumed him completely. He had no will left to hide himself from the judgment of the passers-by. In that way he was above them. He was transcendent. He was real and authentic. His experience and emotions were naked. We were all safely insulated, separated from the event. We were cowards and hypocrites in our cars. It’s easy to judge when you’re safe and alone. He was completely vulnerable in front of an audience and he betrayed no self-consciousness. He was a god among men.

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