Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Lenten Perspective: "...And, always have a way out that is different from the way in."

Anthony Horton, 43 didn't make a lot of money, drive a fancy car, own an amazingly huge home with a beach cottage in the next state.  He didn't have a loving wife and family and he didn't have a desire to achieve greatness in terms believable only to those having more than he.  Anthony was a simple and kind man with a heart, a mind, and a soul.......and something to share.  Too bad he perished in a subway fire on Sunday.

Mr. Horton lived in the subway tunnels of NYC where he found his solace and peace.  He had a reputation of being a gentle kind man, a prolific artist, and loved music.  He shared his story with a lady who eventually helped him write a book, "Pitch Black."  In it he shared what he learned living in the tunnels, where he found his creativity and some rules of thumb that we can all take a lesson from, including:
  • Always carry a light.
  • Anything you need can be found in the garbage.
  • Always have more than one spot.
  • And, always have a way out that is different from the way in.
The Church teaches and I believe that God is in everyone; He was truly in Anthony as well.  Yes, he had problems, don't we all in one degree or another.  But in these few rules of thumb in his book, I see God's presence and love in this man's life.

God is truly in all of us, so during Lent many of us make great plans to be closer to Him.  In the process, we  test the body's will power, decision making, and discipline of time management.  All in all, we want to be different, more of something and less of something else.  So we make plans each Lenten season reading books and finding inspiration for our journey.  Making plans for myself, I've been inspired by Mr. Horton and his rules of thumb:

- "Always carry a light." Carrying the light of Christ with me through the tunnels of life, finding the good in everyone and every situation that come into my path.  I'm not the nicest person at times and this needs to change. 

-"Anything you need can be found in the garbage".  Knowing that there are adversities everywhere, that I do make mistakes, but through Christ's love for me I can make a garbage moment or attitude better through prayer and faith in Him; I'll make that my mission of change.

-"Always have more than one spot."  There are more places to be than just in the present, remembering where we have come from and knowing how we got here, being humbled by the hard lessons of life, can continue to change our hearts and minds.  The pain of a situation is the strengthening of the character for the future.  The martyrs gave us that lesson through the ages. I'm not just in the here and now, I'm a compilation of where I have been and where I am headed.  We are not promised tomorrow, nor a rose garden, but we are promised the hope of something far better before us.  Christ is our hope, and I must keep my eyes on Him in whatever or where ever I am.

-"And, always have a way out that is different from the way in."  At the end of this season of Lent, will I have a different outlook than I did when I entered?  Will I come out a better person, a changed person?  That is my goal, just like the paralyzed man who wanted to see Jesus so bad that his friends made a hole in the roof for him to be lowered.  Through his faith and determination, he was cured and instead of leaving the same way he came in, he went out the front door, forever changed.

Changed forever, ending up much different, closer to God, a better person, than when I came into Lent.


JohnK said...

Very nice, straightforward and elegant.

Allison said...

Not expecting this...thanks for Lenten reading and inspiration that is not par for the course.

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

A lovely story and excellent post. I can make exactly the same observations about myself that you made about yourself. Lent is such a blessing because it affords us an opportunity for true conversion and the forming of good habits that will carry us on in our spiritual development.