Once upon a time, I knew a man who was a really good person. He was a Christian, but you know by now that I already think that it wouldn’t matter what religion he was. Good is as good does. Well, he thought it mattered. He’d chosen to minister to those around him by being as good a Christian as he humanly could, as Christlike as he could be. He clothed the naked, fed the hungry (for which I am profoundly grateful as that meant me and Biff, my preacherman ex, on occasion), consoled the heartbroken, and gave shelter to those who didn’t have a place (see earlier parenthetical note). He ran the Renaissance Faire circuit pretty regularly back in the 80s/90s (I think he still does). Anybody who spent much time around them probably knows exactly and precisely who I’m talking about right now because he was not quiet about his faith, though he wasn’t obnoxious or anything, just really up-front in that way that only humble religious people manage. The guy not only didn’t have a skeleton in his closet, I don’t think he even had a closet. Maybe not even a house. If I found out he yelled at his wife or dealt drugs, it’d do more to rattle me than finding out prayers aren’t magic spells ever did.
He told me once as he treated me and Biff to a Chinese buffet in that one little place near Texas Renfest (this was while I was still Christian) that he’d had to conquer pride as his greatest sin. WTF? I was shocked, but he went on to say that he knew, you see, that he was a good person, and he struggled with the pride he felt as he went through the world helping others. He told me he’d realized he had a problem when one of his neighbors once came up to him while he was packing his trailer for a festival and said, “You’re so nice. You’re one of the nicest people I know. Can I ask you a personal question?”
His heart leapt in his chest. Finally! It’d paid off! All that effort! With visions of impromptu bathtub baptisms in his head, my friend nodded and said, “Yes, of course you can.”
The neighbor gave him that squinty look and asked hesitantly…
“Are you a vegetarian?”
Much love to those who are trying their best today. We see you. We know you’re there. Thank you for being part of the tapestry.