Day by Day #54: Laughing at Wretches
“Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” – C.S. Lewis
In California, we stopped at a McDonald’s to use the bathroom. There was only a one-use bathroom. As I was waiting and jumping, I saw an abnormally obese man sitting on two chairs. He had a walker and I couldn’t tell where his limbs started. His ankle covered his foot. He was drinking a 64-ounce soda and pushing his free hand around the pile of magazines and empty Big Mac boxes in front of him. His eyes were foggy glasses and I was afraid he was staring back.
Maybe I was assuming too much about him. Maybe he wasn’t lonely or angry. Maybe he had a lot of friends and liked who he was. Maybe you shouldn’t judge a person by how they look and what they eat. And what magazines they read in a public place.
But when the door finally unlocked, I ran in and was immediately overcome with depression. I had a pit in my stomach thinking about his existence. If he was content with himself, it was by deception, not by following any natural order.
Any question you have about why God does things can be answered if you just pick up a pen and write. To have the mind of a narrator is to have the mind of God. When Paul calls us to discern the will of God (Rom. 12:2), we are to study the story. A story makes no sense for the character who doesn’t know they are in a story. He won’t know that God has a problem with evil.
Writing can be done in the most direct way, or it can be done by accepting the role of character. If you are wanting to change, both produce the same virtue, which is contentedness. You could also call it peace, peace Christ promised to some of the lesser known characters, the lilies of the field.
There are some souls who refuse to be a character in His twisting plot, but also refuse to pick up the pen. And there is nothing funny about them. We can laugh at the idea of wretchedness, but as soon as we meet a living wretch it is a vice, not a virtue, to be able to laugh.
If I sat down and talked to him. If I had let him stare.