The sun came and went as ominous clouds marched across the sky. I shivered and wondered why I hadn’t checked the weather before I had walked to the park to study. Winter was coming; that was certain.
On the other side of the bubbling fountain of the garden plaza, a man was stretched out on a bench in front of the bamboo forest. I had seen him there before. He wore several layers of clothing all with that grimy, unwashed tinge. He was a perfect picture of a North African homeless. But he didn’t bother anyone. Even when he awoke, stood up, and stumbled to another part of the garden.Beside me, just on the other side of the fig tree, were two boys pretending to be men. They smoked cigarettes, played music, and took selfies.
But when the homeless man got up and walked away, the boys gawked at him. Then they whispered something to each other and snickered.
I was angry. If the man had bothered them, I could have understood the sentiment to mock him. But as it was, the man had done nothing to deserve anything less than their respect. And yet they laughed at him. How dare they!
While I was still high on my judgment throne, God asked me, “Who do you laugh at?”
Me? Laugh at someone?
How many times have I amused myself at the expense of another? In short, who do I look at and tell myself I am better than they? Maybe it’s not the homeless man. But it could be the boys smoking cigarettes. And really, does that make my pride any less hideous than theirs?