If it were Jesus..what then?
Art has the task of drawing your attention to the things that you/we like to overlook. Art in no way has the task of adapting or being decorative. The seventies were characterized by this art. The new realism created sculptures that were life-size and as realistic as possible. I liked to stroll through the art galleries of the republic and one day I found myself in a large hall of the Hamburger Kunsthalle. There were only a few objects in the room and so my gaze fell into a corner. I was magically drawn there. A woman my height with a shopping cart was placed there by the artist. The sculpture was so realistic that I considered for a moment whether I should pinch. The woman's shopping cart was in no way prepared for shopping. It was her belongings that were in the cart. Badly marked by life, it hit me right in the heart. And whenever I doubt whether seeing a person in need thinking should I or not... I think of this sculpture, which showed me so clearly what responsibility we have towards those who need our help. My life and thinking have clearly been aligned with this sculpture.
Help doesn't always mean money, but a roof over your head, or even just a roll to give something to your stomach. Sometimes I ask our beggar in front of the supermarket, do you need something special today? He is so grateful and takes what he can get. So I go and buy some rolls and cold cuts, it doesn't hurt to give someone those pennies, it only hurts when people then start talking about the bum or the drunk.
You often see beggars sitting or standing at the tourist points.
We were on vacation and strolled through the Spanish old town. A cathedral is always a beautiful place to capture a country's culture. My legs steered me there and my husband followed. A beggar was sitting in front of the entrance to the church, and I gave him the last of my money from my trouser pocket. My husband reprimanded me, he does it professionally, he's not a beggar, he might buy alcohol for that. Wow..I had never heard such a barrage of 'no' from him and I was perplexed at first. My walk continued into the Cathedral and the beauty of the interior captured my thinking as I heard myself speak: It's not about what he does with the donation, that's his business. It's about what I do. What if it was Jesus, would you donate? My soulmate looked at me sadly and knew it's not important to deal with what the other is doing....Empathy will certainly also experience scratches, but it's not about the one, but about the many.
Next time you see someone in need, listen to them. Maybe you can even help. His name may not be Jesus, but he may have him in his heart.