One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters #OWS

One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters #OWS

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

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Stan Faryna at the Moldavita Monastery

Background: The Stairway to Heaven on the painted church of Sucevita.

Many years ago, when I was a student at the University of Southern California, I met a man named Michael.

Michael was waiting outside a Mexican fast food restaurant.

I had gone there for a cheap bowl of soup. I was trying to stretch my modest student budget as far as I could.

As I left the restaurant, he asked me for spare change. I had a few dollars so I offered to buy Michael some tacos and a drink. He accepted.

But what Michael really wanted more than anything else was intimacy with another human person. He wanted to have a conversation. He wanted a hand shake. And he wanted a hug.

While eating the tacos I just bought for him, Michael told me that six months earlier he was a successful businessman. That he was happily married, had beautiful children, and that he had everything that he had ever wanted. Six months ago.

He was diagnosed with AIDs and he lost everything. His colleagues, family, and friends rejected him. He feel into despair, shame, hatred, and loneliness. He found himself in an unending dark night. This was back in the 80s and people didn’t know how to deal with AIDs and they were very much afraid of anyone who had it.

I listened to Michael’s story with compassion. His story was the story of the man in the song, Behind Blue Eyes. His eloquent vocabulary and clear ideas suggested to me that he was telling the truth about all the things he had lost.

More convincing, of course, was the deep agony, the hurt, and the fury behind his blue eyes.

Yes, Michael smelled strongly of sweat and urine. He had visible, grotesque infections on his face and hands. It wasn’t easy for me to take his hand or embrace him.

I shook Michael’s hand. I gave him a strong and long hug. I was afraid to do so. But I was more ashamed to be reluctant.

Michael wanted nothing more from me.

My encounter with Michael was an encounter with another human person. It was also an intimate encounter with my true self.

Occupy Wall Street is also an encounter with the world, with history, and your true self.

Like my Michael so many years ago, our world is in trouble. People are afraid. Some do not want to speak about it. Some do not want to hear about it.

You speak to trouble with great passion and courage. Keep on speaking out!

You speak for those who have not spoken, those afraid to speak, those ashamed to speak, and those who cannot speak because they struggle to put food on the table. Your voices bring comfort to a friend, a colleague, a family member, or a stranger – all of whom cannot see hope through the dark night that has befallen the world.

You search for clear and compelling answers that close the gap between the bottom line and the dignity of the human person. You inspire others to do good and make a stand against evil.

And that is not all.

You do amazing things because you are not fated to only telling lies. You reject the lie that Love must become vengeance.

Hope… may not always be obvious to you.

Right now, you may even be frustrated and confused about what’s going on or what’s going to happen to you. You may be wondering, what more should you do!

Speak loudly. Speak to truth. Speak to hope. Speak to justice, freedom, and the Dream.

Face every challenge with courage, gentleness and prudence – not anger or cynicism. And, above all, do not lie to yourself – the temptations for self-deceit are many.

Do not doubt that you do the right thing. Do not doubt that you do amazing things! You do them because you are led by your servant heart. Because you were always meant to do them.

Amazing things are written upon your servant heart just as the stars are written across the night sky. You know this – even if you have forgotten.

You will find encouragement if your heart is open to it. Again and again.

Booker T. Washington is a wonderful example. Born as a slave, he rose to become a great educator, a noted businessman, and trusted advisor to several American Presidents.

In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Washington tells us how we can find encouragement to live brave:

Any man’s life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day.

You, yourself, see and know this to be true right now.

Your servant heart encourages you to make profound expressions of love, conscience, and hope.

When you walk past the homeless man or woman on a busy city sidewalk – it could be Bucharest, Kyoto, Los Angeles, London, Paris, San Francisco – anywhere), you have encountered human tragedy surrounded by the wealth and pomp of well dressed people and handsome shops displaying elegant fineries in the window.

And your servant heart has asked you to resolve the irony with love.

The answer may be to bring that man (or woman) some food and drink. Or a blanket. Or a hug. It may be that you must raise your voice against corruption, injustice, and tyranny.

It may be that you must lift others up – others that must be heard.

Rarely, if ever, are there “one size fits all” answers. But the answer will come to you – if you dare to answer it from your servant heart.

Just as Occupy Wall Street has come to your heart.

This is just the beginning! Upon your lips, a world of we begins to take form. In your hearts, the kingdom of heaven unfolds like a piece of a great puzzle. Together, our hearts come together like the pieces of a great puzzle that brings the human family together.

Follow your servant heart. Let it speak. Allow yourself to feel sorrow (and joy!) as deeply as they present themselves on the stage of your heart.

Be you.

Be true.

Love. Serve. Give.

Be amazing.

Limp Bizkit, Behind Blue Eyes

Feedback

If you think that this blog post sucks, let me know in your comment and don’t forget to include a link to YOUR favorite blog post.

If you think this blog post rocks, tell me why it rocks in the comment. “Awesome,””Great post,” etc. works for me. Don’t forget to include a link to YOUR most recent blog post.

Stan Faryna
31 October 2011
Bucharest, Romania

P.S. Help me to do something beautiful. More here.

Faryna Podcasts

1. Why do I blog: http://wp.me/pbg0R-kX

2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: http://wp.me/pbg0R-la

3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lv

4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lO

5. Are You Ready for Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-lX

6. Reading The Desiderata. http://wp.me/pbg0R-mr

7. What is Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-mw

8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nJ

9. Do you love strongly? http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY

10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on

11. The Economics of Friendship. http://wp.me/pbg0R-oU

12. Do Not Be Afraid. http://wp.me/pbg0R-p9

Faryna Podcast EP12 Information

One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters by Stan Faryna
©2011 Some Rights Reserved.

Produced by Adrian Klein. http://www.adrianklein.co.uk
Music by Adrian Klein. Some Rights Reserved by Adrian Klein
Vocals: Adrian Klein

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15 Responses to One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters #OWS

  1. Betsy Cross says:

    This had better not be a duplicate comment! Mine disappeared as I logged in to WordPress.

    All I said was. first, good job to you and Adrian!

    And what I learned from our 3 day power outage, I think, Is related to what you are talking about.

    People in general don’t really see their connection to other people and how they really can alleviate suffering doing those simple things like you talked about. And if someone has a hard time receiving (or asking, like me with my neighbor- she and I talk every day and she never offered any help. She probably thought i would ask if I needed anything.)

    Three friends dropped in randomly with food, firewood, and questions about how we were doing. That’s what they do. They understand that if no one asks suffering can go on and on and on. Each of them had something unique to offer. One family had a well and no water so we were able to fill their tanks up with some from our house.

    I learned a lot about myself, too. As I was huddled under blankets for the third day this morning, cold to the bone, I decided to do some yard work. Everyone else stayed inside while I worked. I had to borrow a chain saw and ask another neighbor how to turn it on. The tree guys gave me a thumbs up as they drove by. It was so fun!
    But I got the whole yard chopped up. I never would have imagined that I could do it.

    My take away? That people need to work, to feel useful. They need to feel like they can accomplish something great. But they can’t if they’re cold and hungry. They can learn to manage that kind of lifestyle, though, pretty quickly. What I’m saying, I think, is that the fallen trees were my work. That was all I could do and all that needed to get done. And I did it one branch at a time.

    So, in a nutshell, I agree with you. It’s the small stuff right in front of our eyes. But we should never have only pity. Not everyone is suffering the way that we think they are. Being cold and hungry are the worst. But being cold, hungry, lonely and useless are hell on earth. Can’t relieve one without addressing the other.

    And I also learned that it doesn’t matter anymore if people care if I’m here on not. I care. That’s what matters.

    Thanks for the opportunity to vent…I haven’t written in days!

  2. I love the whole concept of “The Servant Heart.” I think that’s why we’re here–to bring out the best in each other. If I had my druthers (which I obviously don’t), this would be a world built on cooperation rather than competition. What always amazes me when we serve at our local homeless shelter is the upbeat attitude of the residents and how they’re so focused on helping each other rather than focused on heir own needs. As always, I love your posts!

  3. Marcus Baker says:

    We are all one. When we observe others who are in distress of any kind and we ignore them, we deny part of who we are. It’s not that we have to fix the world. We did not come here to do so.We came to realize our connection and when we do, we elevate the collective energy that does indeed have the ability to move mountains. Intimacy with that and with those who represent what we fear, judge and dislike is about connecting with all of that within. Intimacy is simply about closeness with that is.

    ~Marcus

  4. […] One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters […]

  5. I also agree that we are all one. I know that especially in today’s economy, people have lost their jobs and their homes so when you see someone begging on a street corner, you can’t necessarily judge that person that they are just lazy and only want handouts. Sometimes our circumstances can’t be helped.

    I loved that you shared that story with us about Micheal. I can’t imagine anyone being shunned by their family because of an illness. Back in the 80’s we had a distance family member contract the same thing but we loved him through it even up to his death. It breaks my heart to think that people can be so unkind and cruel.

    I enjoyed this post Stan but would have no idea which of my posts I would claim “the best”. I’m sure my views may be different than others. But I appreciate you sharing this.

  6. Stan Faryna says:

    You said it, Adrienne! More and more these days, circumstances can’t be helped.

    The numbers of the homeless are increasing in Bucharest as winter approaches. Mostly, it’s the elderly. We have about 40 people in the nearby park. That’s about a 100 percent increase in the last month.

  7. gagdet business…

    […]One Christian’s Letter to Occupy Wall Street Protesters #OWS « The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna[…]…

  8. […] you ask me what I believe was my most important blog post and pod cast this year, I will say it was One Christian’s Letter to OWS Protestors. Sadly, it was the least listened to podcast that I published. And it was my least read blog post […]

  9. I love your blog post, but can do without the video. It seems that homeless blue eyed men have been really following me every where I go since I have finished a book about one. I guess this is confirmation for me to hurry up and get it published. Your story is beautiful. My uncle had aids in the 80’s. I was just a kid, but we didn’t really know what it was, we just knew he was sick. My mom used to tell me not to drink from his cup, but I didn’t listen. I didn’t understand how sick he was until he really started to die and how long it took for him to die. Now, I know how serious it was and how he struggled. It hurts me to hear stories of people treating someone else who has a disease, or someone who is different, like they are not human. Great podcast!

  10. […] plan. Twitter. Facebook. Google. Etc. So, yeah, social media is a matrix.  That’s why the 1 percenters are putting hundreds of billions of dollars into it. Because it is an elegant business model that […]

  11. […] Speak out. Just like Jack has done. Or share the words of those who speak to truth, human dignity, and conscience. Be curators and you too will have served in the good fight. […]

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