Encounters with Christians

Perhaps the title is misleading. This blog is about a chance encounter with one Christian. My first and only. I’m sorry for those of you I’ve met in the past who believe they ought rightly be counted amongst my Christian meetings. But you bible sellers aren’t even in the same league. This guy was the real deal (and you should probably be thanking him).

Let me set the scene: Berlin. Dead of winter. 5 PM home rush. Already dark.

I must have been thinking something nice because when the junky hit me up for money I was reaching for my wallet without hesitating. To give you an indication of how good this mood was I was in, I’ll run you down on the feebleness of his story: man, I just got mugged, they took my bag, my wallet, everything, I’ve been begging for money to get home, all I wanna do it get back home, I just need 40 cents to buy a train ticket, just 40 cents and I can get out of the cold.

I look at what I’ve got. A 20 cent piece, and a five euro note. Even in my weakened state I saw my two options, clearly, but all I could think was ‘how long is it going to take him to scrounge together that last 20 cents – and the poor guy just wants to get home’.

So I hand over the five euro note. And let me tell you, I felt good about it.

“Thank you so much, you’ve got no idea how much this is helping me, so many people have passed, they don’t care, thank you so much, I can finally go home and warm up.”

I walked away beaming. My self-talk on the platform went along these lines: you’re a good guy mujo, really you are, you care, there are others who don’t, but you’re not one of them, no sir, you’re one of the good guys.

I look up from my little dream world, and there is my junky friend hitting up another commuter with the same lame line. A small aside now for clarification: I have no hard evidence that he was a junky, but I’m figuring only a dumb arse heroin addict would pull the same con in plain sight of the last mark.

The junky leaves and I go up to the guy. “Did that guy just ask you for money?”

“Yes.”

“And you gave him some?”

“Yes.”

The mother.

Every positive thought, feeling, musing or inclination I’d ever had my whole life I could have wiped my bottom with as I swore to punish that fetid junky predator.

It must have shown. I had the junky in sight and was marching down on him when this guy jumped in front of me, smiling. “Are you Christian?”

The question was so out of place it stopped me in my tracks.

He repeated. “Are you Christian?”

I had many simultaneous ideas in that moment, but the dominant one was: I’m being hit on by a gay Catholic – oh, shit!

“No, I’m not.”

“It doesn’t matter, I can see you’re angry. Let him go. It’s not your problem to fix. Let him go. Whatever you gave him will come back to you ten times over, and in other ways. You’ve got an accent, where are you from?”

“Australia.”

“Beautiful. I’ve always dreamed of going there. It’s warm, huh ….” And so it went, until he cooled me down.

However positive I may have felt about giving a man down on his luck some money (albeit an illusion), it was nothing compared to how good I felt giving charity to someone who would steal from me (once this cross toting spin doctor had had his way with it).

Once again, I felt good about myself. But how long would it last unchallenged?

As it turned out it was only 24 hours. That same junky fool was pulling the same line in the same place a day later. He saw me. I saw him. He walked away. I let him.

To my nameless Christian advisor – cheers.


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