(*Edited - content and PS added)
I have a busy weekend planned (partially dependent on the weather), but yesterday, our maintenance man came by to finish patching up our ceiling from a roof leak, after all the rain (the outside had already been patched).
Not only is he very smart, very good at ferreting out any issues that arise (though we rarely have any), but he's also a super friendly, smiley, drop-what-he's-doing-to-help you kind of guy.
Have you ever met anyone whose soul just ... shines? :)
Well, in talking more with him, I discovered why.
He is originally from Puerto Rico, and during the course of our conversation, I discovered that he moved to America in 2004, in order to help send money to his family in Puerto Rico - particularly his little brother with spina bifida.
(For the ignorant - though Spanish is their native language, Puerto Ricans are legal U.S. citizens because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory - thus they can move freely from Puerto Rico to anywhere in US and and back again as they please. However, because they are not a state, they do not receive the same benefits as U.S. states .)
Since Puerto Rico is considered an American territory rather than a state, they cannot receive the same government disability and health benefits as Americans (which already isn't much, compared to Europe), and thus, his little brother only receives $32 a month from the government.
So he is here to work and send money to Puerto Rico to take care of his family, particularly his chronically ill little brother :(
I told him I'd read an article where even doctors work second jobs in Puerto Rico because of the chronically poor economy and corruption and he verified this as truth.
We then discussed the difference between hurricane handlings, as I lived in the Florida panhandle during the 2004 to 2005 season, where we had three - and of course, being from Puerto Rico, he has seen many, including going to help his family after Hurricane Maria in 2017, which as many are aware, Trump and Republicans were initially resistant to assist with cleanup.
However, R is not bitter - as I said, he's a light :)
I had noticed a giant cross on his truck already, and his phone ring tones were with Spanish Christian music.
R: "You know, I tell people that the hurricanes ended up being a blessing and they say, 'How can you say that?' I say, 'Because everyone helps their neighbor. They forget their arguments and bad energy with each other, what class you are, what money you have or not, what church you go to or not, what skin color - they just pull together and help each other. When people get so divided now, I try to remember that and who people can be for each other.'"
Me: "You know, I noticed the same thing after a hurricane, there were no enemies, there was no race, there were no political sides. There was no who "deserves" help - it was just "Do you need help?" and we helped, shared what we had - period.
I'd forgotten about that in recent years, with all of the political nonsense. I used to keep it in mind and say the same thing. But you're right, I, too, have seen despite the devastation, how people can really rally together. People are often at their best when things are at their worst."
"My husband says I'm too open and trusting of people, and shouldn't be, after some of my experiences, but one of the reasons is because I've seen that, I've seen how humans can pull together and how wonderful they can be in a crisis, how all of this 'who deserves what' just goes away. We just have to remember that."
"Thank you for reminding me of that. Very few people get to experience that, it IS a blessing. Suffering can sanctify, if we let it. All the bad that just happened gets washed away by a flood of loving our neighbors"
R: "Yes, you are welcome. Also, we were provided for. There was a farm nearby and the hurricane washed all of the fresh fruits and vegetables down to the local creek, it was like manna from heaven lol. We took horses and giant sacks and took turns gathering it and bringing it back to our town to share it."
Me: "Oh, how wonderful! WOW, that IS a blessing. Somebody up there was looking out for you."
R: "Yes, I like to think so."
Me: "Wow, all we found was chicken in a can and plastic-packaged MREs lol. Being a US territory, did the US military still come through and hand out MREs?" (MREs = Meals Ready to Eat ;)
R: "Yes, they did eventually."
Me: "Yeah, eventually lol. Even here, they famously took their time after Katrina. Sometimes the MREs had chocolate in them, though, like M&Ms or a mini Hershey bar, it was like finding gold! lol"
R: "Yes, yes! Ours too! We felt the same way! lol. Yes, I remember. See, good can be found everywhere at anytime."
Me: "I agree, thanks again for the reminder. Happy Easter!"
R: "Happy Easter.! You two have a wonderful weekend."
As such, this is why we cannot hear the true voice and message of Christ's sacrifice for others out of love and compassion for humanity through them - because it isn't there.
HOWEVER - I heard my master's true "voice," yesterday, through R - who ironically, by profession, is in fact a hired-hand/maintenance man - but in actuality, was a true shepherd representative on behalf of the Good Shepherd :)
True sheep will always hear their master's true voice versus the plethora of "hirelings" in Christ's name we have "preaching" today ;)
John 10:11-16, 27-28
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
PS - R is also going to help me with my Spanish, as I am learning Castilian Spanish for a trip next year, scoping out possible retirement sites ;)
He speaks Caribbean/Puerto Rican Spanish, which is somewhat different than Latin-American Spanish, as it's based on the Andalusian/Canary Island dialect in Spain. (Still not Castilian, but closer lol).
If I find I have time this weekend, I'm going to post about a new article regarding the possibility of an agate cup kept in Valencia being the Holy Grail, as well as the holy pilgrimage road that is the "Camino de Santiago" to the "Santiago de Compostela Archcathedral Basilica (Cathedral) " in Spain - the last part of the journey being made on your knees.
Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is believed to the burial place of St. James.
Many believe that it was James himself who held onto the Holy Grail from the last supper and brought it to Spain, others believe it was the Knights Templar, though the more popular theory is Peter first brought the grail to Rome, where it was later moved to Huesca, Spain, for safety, and then to Valencia.
Though many sites in Spain claim to possibly have the Holy Grail (as do many in Europe in general), most believe, if it existed, it was hidden somewhere along the Camino de Santiago and is possibly still in safekeeping in Huesca - but the agate cup in Valencia is being given strong consideration.
If I find I don't have time, enjoy the meantime links I have, and feel free to read and research more about them :)