Kenny Laskey

It was not the cold that got to me in the north, or even the snow. It was the darkness. Long hours spent without the sunlight, even light devoid of warmth, cannot be good for anyone, especially a Canarian woman such as myself.

But it was on a night such as this that I learned what the true Light is. That is, the spiritual light and warmth that comes from loving another person from your heart and soul. I learned about it from a drunk man, near death, who was expecting nothing from life, but was more alive than anyone I had ever met. This man saved my life, in the truer sense of the word than my body.

Since this encounter, I have learned that this Light is real. A Christian mystic, Swedenborg claims there are other worlds where people bathe in this Light and the light of our sun, by comparison, is utter darkness. He doesn’t specifically call the place heaven, but I do. He says this spiritual Light has the same effects on the spiritually dead like that of our natural sun, it putrefies and eventually helps to decompose. This, to me, explains why it is written, ‘Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and will not come into the Light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.’

Kenny and I were on the late night train, headed from downtown Boston to the end of the line at Arlington, MA. Kenny was homeless and looked the part, sprawled out on the seats with a handle of vodka loosely hidden in a trash bag. He was in agony, that anyone could see. So when a group of young partiers coldly looked on in disgust, my heart went out to him. I caught his eye and gave him a friendly smile. Then he changed my life.

Every word he spoke was from a place deeper than I’ve known. Beyond worldly cares, beyond the countless trivial things we are taught to worry about, beyond caring if you live or die, he was the wisest man I had ever encountered. And he made me weep at just a few words. He told me I was beautiful.

At that moment I learned it’s not the words you say, but how you say them, how deeply you mean what you say. I felt it when he said beautiful – being kind to someone when you see others being mean and they are hurting is beautiful. And that’s how he meant it. Not my hair and nails or the dress I was wearing.

I learned, in that instance, this is the only beauty I care about.

The train pulled up. We all got off. Myself, the partiers, and the sage. The partiers became dumbstruck spectators as I looked to meeting this man from the fringes of society. I asked if he had anywhere to stay, he humbly and meekly said no. “Would you like to come stay with me?” I asked, from the heart. He agreed. At that moment the partiers dissipated and went on with their lives. Whatever that might mean to them.

The rest is a dream. Too beautiful and surreal to try and capture with words. I will just say that when you open your hearts, and your homes, to those in need, true magic is possible. We talked a good while through an open door, each in our respective sleeping spaces, and he shared some of the horrific turmoil he’s gone through throughout his life here on earth. “Why didn’t you kill yourself?” I asked, imagining such a life too awful to bear. His response, from that deep place he spoke from, “I wasn’t in the mood.”

Boy, this got me right in my funny bone, and he meant for it to. But perhaps you just had to be there. Or try it yourself. ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.’ Start small, invite someone hungry to eat. Then see where such an adventure can take you. What have you got to lose? And to be gained? A miracle.

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