Diary of a Ghetto Priest | Lord, teach us to love
When I consider all the beautiful and simple poor I have lived with, what joy!
I think of Donovan, Albert, Howard, Winston, and all the homeless, even the mad! How simple and gentle and funny they are. What a family! How they work together, laugh together, pray together. How they chat and play, children of God! They get up in the morning, bathe, clothe each other, get about their duties, sweep, and dust, joking all the time. Then they have breakfast, clean up again, and prepare lunch. They chat so much, their tongues hanging out, always laughing. They never worry, no anxiety. When they are in pain, they cry, then they accept the simple fact of existence. They certainly know how to live and to love. They accept life, and they accept people just as they are.
That teaches us a lesson. Be who you are as you are.
When the woman with Down syndrome at Jacob’s Well get together at the brothers’ vows, they clap and make funny noises at the Liturgy. They are the jolliest crowd you could ever hope to find. Then after Mass, they socialise without reservations and have a bellyful. There is no self-consciousness about who likes them and who doesn’t. There is no worry about social standing. They simply love, embrace, and laugh with hugs and kisses, slurping you with their lips.
Purpose of living
Then, they get up on the stage and dance to reggae, revival, mento and dancehall. How do you want them to dance? They got it – their bellies rolling, their hips gyrating. They love it when people laugh and clap their hands. They are the centre of interest. There is no pride in them or self-consciousness. They are just happy when others are happy. Their purpose for living is to spread the joy of life to all others. They are purely and simply full of humility and love – God’s little angels come down from heaven to simply be who they are.
We want so much to impress people with our talents, good looks, money, social standing, and great intelligence. But we should be ourselves, accepting ourselves as God made us. There are reasons for us having certain talents and not having certain talents, being this colour or race, being this size and that as God made us. We need not conform with this or that person’s expectation of us. We are flowers in the garden, different and yet delightful and surprising in the eyes of God. If only we could love and appreciate each other as we are.
For instance, I don’t like our black Jamaican women being blondes. I don’t like our Downs syndrome people being killed off in the womb. They are not productive in the material world, but they bring happiness, a commodity that is rare in our times.
God, who is the creator of all things and all people, has made us as He wants us to be.