Chapter Eight – Step Into The Light
By Steven Maisenbacher
I want to talk this morning briefly. I’ve just concluded my prayers and I’m sitting outside. It’s 5:39 a.m. I want to say something about being skeptical. I’m rapidly finding out here in this world that everyone is skeptical and suspicious and paranoid about almost everything and everyone. It’s almost as if when you walk by somebody you’re a suspect or they’re a suspect. You never know what their agenda is, you never give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s crazy.
I’m finding this in everyday life too. I go to the bus stop and people look at me crazy. I look at them crazy, wondering if this person is going to try and rob me. Is this person a bad person? What was her life like? Where are they from and who are they? What do they believe? Do they have love in their heart? Do they have love in their life or have they loved? Have they suffered tragic losses, devastating shames, oppression or have they had a content, purposeful, fulfilled life?
Me, I would say that although I’ve suffered, I brought it upon myself. Although I’ve been shamed, that too I brought on myself. But I can’t walk around being skeptical and suspicious of everyone and everything. It’s just not my nature. I guess deep down somewhere inside my old grouchy Walks’ heart there’s a bounding love, the kind of love I was talking about the other day, the same love that motivates everything at its root. Do we question love? I guess. Do we question our commitment to love? Sometimes. Do we feel that as hard as we love it’s returned? Not always but then again that’s the nature of love.
It’s also the nature of suspicion. Are the people that I look at with suspicions suspicious of me? Do they wonder who I am, what I am, where I’m from, where I’m going, what I’m about? I don’t know cuz I’m too suspicious to ask. I’ve been led to believe that the world is a terrible place with terrible people, but in the same breath, when I walk into a store I smile and say, ‘Good Morning’ I mean it and I’m pretty sure that the people that return that smile and that good morning greeting mean it as well. Even in that fleeing moment there’s the back hint of skepticism somewhere in my dark little mind. I wonder if they really mean it. Are they worried about me or wondering about me?
Yesterday was a red banner day for me. I really need to work and was asked to come to Walmart for an interview. I spoke with the man and it went really well and I believed I had the job. But then he told me to go back and fill out the application online which I’ve had problems doing, so there, even in that moment of self-celebration for having accomplished something else that needs to be done, I was skeptical knowing that the website is almost all but unnavigationalable. I don’t even know if that’s a word but we’re going to say it today, so today’s word that might not be a word is unnavigationalable. Enjoy yourself use it somewhere and when you do, trust that whoever you use it on is going to be skeptical as to whether it’s a word or not.
Anyway what I’m trying to get to this morning is a simple fact that I think we should start giving people more of the benefit of the doubt. If we prove to be wrong, it’s called a mistake. I’m pretty sure you make them too. I know I do almost on an hourly basis but that’s all right because I’m skeptical as to how long that will continue out here in your world… oh wait a minute… it’s now my world too! Don’t know why I was skeptical of that. I have as much a part to play in it is you do and today I think I’ll choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, even the people that I know who have proven to me every day here in this halfway house that they’re really not on my side and they’re really not trying to help; they’re just trying to get a paycheck and going about their business of being skeptical and suspicious of me. I’m praying for you this morning and praying for them, All My Relations.