Everybody Get Together

“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee” — John Donne 

The bell tolls in lower Bucks County, PA for a homeless man who recently passed after being hit by two cars on New Falls road in Levittown, PA. The homeless community has been mourning since, and have made a point to get together more often with one another. 

One of the places the homeless in Bucks County meet is at the shared meals for the homeless and those in need, where they can nourish the body and get together to edify one another.  

Except for a few problem people, who by the way are not homeless, the meals have been a peaceful place for friends to gather.  Reflecting on the man’s passing, I think of how we, especially those of us who are in a similar situation, should value the people around us, and not bicker over things but treasure each other’s company. And we should not allow the problem people to disrupt our peace.  

Shakespeare writes of making the most of our time here on earth, treasuring what we have, as we are just sojourners: 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold (Sonnet 73) 

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616  

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold  

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang  

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,  

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day 

As after sunset fadeth in the west;  

Which by and by black night doth take away,  

Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.  

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,  

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,  

As the deathbed whereon it must expire,  

Consumed with that which it was nourished by.  

  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,  

   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.” 

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

In the community of needy and homeless people in lower Bucks County, PA, I ask “why can’t we be friends?”  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=why+can%27t+we+be+friends+youtube&qpvt=why+can%27t+we+be+friends+youtube&FORM=VDRE In real life, being friends is not as simple as portrayed in this whimsical musical video. Being friends, and keeping friends takes work, and you have to have the right philosophy, the right outlook on life. It depends on the content of your character. It’s easy to be friendly and get along when nothing comes between people, especially with needy and homeless folks. But, alas, it’s not always smooth sailing, and conflicts arise for different reasons. Sometimes people are under pressure, as was the recent case when some friends graciously helped salvage lots of stuff from a house that someone in the hospital had sold. Sometimes it’s a case of greed, addictions, whether it be food (gluttony), cigarettes, material possessions, booze, drugs, you name it… A response to a glutton’s question in this community illustrates the problem: “What do you care? All you care about is feeding your face at other people’s expense.” Greed was the cause of conflict between the fictional characters in Frank Norris’ McTeague.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McTeague “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” -Romans 12:18 Peace is not just a matter of everybody agreeing and having no problems. In some cases, it’s a matter of misunderstanding and someone being overanxious for something in the heat of the moment. It’s best not to jump to conclusions and become angry. Peace is where there is no confusion, that you know what is the right thing to do and you try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. You may not always agree, but at least try to find out where the other person is coming from. Try understanding. Sometimes you’ll realize the motivation was right. Other times, you may find the other person is just a rat! In some cases, conflicts, misunderstandings can be resolved. Sometimes not. It is sometimes the case that the other party is just a user, someone who is just selfish. In the latter case, it’s a good idea to not put yourself in a position where someone can use you. But it’s wrong to harbor a grudge. This is something I’m working on in my life. I’m slowly putting aside anger about people who have grossly wronged me. Somethings can be overlooked, and other, even valid issues don’t need to be dwelled on, repeated over and over again. And it’s important to forgive people for their wrong, although you shouldn’t put yourself in the same position again. A Christian brother once told me that if someone you’re walking with throws you over a bridge, to not go near bridges with that person. There comes a point where attempts at reconciliation hits an impasse. Sometimes there is no common ground, principle. Take the character who comes to the community meals for the homeless and needy in Bucks County – Birdman. (please!) Sometime after I told Birdman he was annoying when he visited my table and tried to swipe whatever he could, he asked me why I think he is annoying. “I’ll take that as a rhetorical question,” I replied. (For those of you in Doylestown, a rhetorical question is one that does not require an answer.) Evidently, we are operating under different paradigms. I’m trying to leave it at that, and I try not to make fun of Birdman too much. But this behavior cannot be tolerated.  Two of the community meal hosts banned Birdman from the meals. And one in particular keeps an eye on this sparrow. In one case, when Birdman reached over a guy sitting at a table, the guy grabbed Birdman’s wrist and hit a pressure point, numbing his hand temporarily and warned Birdman if he ever came to his table again, he’d really hurt him. Force or the threat of force is sometimes needed to stop predators. There are other quests at the meals I’ve called out for similar, but not nearly as egregious behavior, with whom, through a third party, I’ve at least made peace with, although there’s another party who is trying to stir up stink. A defendant in a lawsuit, where it’s believed she was instrumental in having a guest at a community meal banned from the meal and the AHTN bus and disgraced while the drunk and disorderly homeless guest who attacked him let off Scott free, wants to resolve the problem. We’ll just have to wait and see. “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – The Lord detests them both” – Proverbs 16:15 Even when you have a righteous case against someone, if at all possible, as far as it depends on you, make peace.

The Law of The Jungle

The law of the jungle” is an expression that means “every man for himself,” “anything goes,” “survival of the strongest,” “survival of the fittest,” “kill or be killed,” “dog eat dog” and “eat or be eaten.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Law of the Jungle as “the code of survival in jungle life, now usually with reference to the superiority of brute force or self-interest in the struggle for survival.” -from Expedia

At the community meals for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, PA, there’s a character who brings the law of the jungle when he comes to the meals. Like a hawk, he hoovers around the tables looking for prey. Sometimes he meets resistance; other guests yell at him to get away from their food, or anything else this predator may try to fly off with. Other times he’ll wait for other guests to leave the table and he’ll snatch and fly off with his catch.

When the host says “let’s pray”, the predator hears “let’s prey.”

Having been known by increasing more guests at the meals, some of them are alert to him and will prevent him from sitting at their tables, making it clear there is no space for him to land.

This predator’s pièce de résistance is filling up his containers with lemonade, coffee, or other beverages to take back to his nest. On two known episodes, the predator, known as Birdman, didn’t want anyone else to have any beverage and started squawking and put up some resistance. I conferred with human behaviorist R.I. Diculous as to why Birdman behaves this way. According to Dr. Diculous, Birdman must believe he’s a real bird of prey out in the wild. The lemonade or coffee he’s about to purloin is his, and only his prey, and only he is entitled to it.

Here’s a video about what must be going on in Birdman’s head. He’s the secretary bird who captures prey and another bird tries to get some of it: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=hawks+capturing+prey+and+fighting+to+keep+it&qpvt=hawks+capturing+prey+and+fighting+to+keep+it&view=detail&mid=D47CBD1FBAA8867B6A7CD47CBD1FBAA8867B6A7C&FORM=VRDGAR

“Bird of prey or predatory bird, also known as raptors, refers to several species of birds that hunt and feed on rodents and other small animals. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapere, meaning to seize or take by force.” -Expedia

Birdman is an example how one should not act at community meals for the homeless and those in need. In a conversation at a past community meal with a formerly homeless man, the guy said that when you are homeless or needy you have to grab everything you can for yourself to survive, like an animal, like Birdman. I disagree. Your state, your status in life does not have to dictate your behavior. The characters in John Steinbeck’s,  The Grapes of Wrath, were homeless folks who looked out for one another. The homeless and needy in Bucks County should act more like them.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grapes_of_Wrath

The law of the jungle was this case with the characters in Frank Norris’ McTeaque. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McTeague

Humans are more than wild animals. We are a special creation.

Be ye not as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they not come near unto thee.” -Psalm 32:9