Sunday, July 22, 2007

Two Holy Men

A couple months ago, when my cousin Brian was on his way to climb Mt. Everest (see pictures here, here and here), he ran across the Indian holy man below:

I've never been to India, but I understand that they're a common site.

I had occasion to think of this tonight, when I was with my friend Doug at a Devereaux concert, during the Bite of Seattle. I noticed a very similar gentleman, presumably homeless, dressed largely in what looked like women's scarves, twirling and swaying, sort of in time to the music. A group of hip looking teenagers were not-so-subtly laughing at him.

My suspicion is that the two men are alike in more than appearance, i.e., I suspect that by traditional medical standards they both suffer from some form of psychosis. But they differ in one key way. In India, there's a place for people like that. They know how to fit them into their culture, and in their own way, they are respected. I doubt that you want your son to grow up to be like that: but if he does, you know that he's not going to begging for change down on skid row. There's a way for that person to be understood, to fit, in a way, into society. And of course, in America, we don't. They're a problem to be solved, not a holy man to be revered. They carry the whiff only of spirits, and never of the Spirit. Think on that for a while, and ponder what we're missing.

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