Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why?

I’m not an admirer of human beings as being particularly inspirational, on the whole.  Yeah, a lot of human sentences find themselves trapped between quotation marks in fragments people find supportive of viewpoints that won’t stand on their own hind legs.  Pithy wisdomoids giving authority to vapid premises.  Often this does happen in a synthetically inspirational context.  But the sources of those quotes usually don’t appear so wise or unblemished under careful scrutiny.

Maybe ‘inspirational’ isn’t the appropriate word to capture the concept I’m hoping to convey.

Maybe ‘has had an influence on your life you believe helped you to be a person you came nearer admiring than the one you were previously’ would more accurately describe it while filling the need for cumbersome rhetoric.  The inspiration derived from firing wisdomoids back and forth at one another isn’t made of the strong stuff I’m trying to communicate.

For instance, I used to be acquainted with a Vietnam vet, who lived in an Econoline van in Albuquerque.  He had a route of parking spots and a time schedule he’d follow to hang around each place for a while.  The street guys who were dumpster-diving knew his schedule.  They also knew  he’d pay a fair price for  anything he could get his money back on that they’d salvaged out of the trash.  After making his rounds, the Econoline would head to the flea market and he’d sell first to the crowd, then whatever was left to the flea market merchants.

By reselling it from homeless guys dumpster-diving, he provided them a means of getting some cash for a lot of things they’d have no way to sell  for themselves, or would have had a lot of difficulty getting more than a few cents for.  His route superimposed an economic network devised to offer those submerged in hardship a trickle of income, a safety net.  He provided a valuable service.

But what I particularly admired was that, when he came across someone he believed was ready to try drug or alcohol withdrawal he’d pack them up in the van and head off somewhere to the middle of nowhere, usually a small town with a restaurant or grocery store where he could pick up food and supplies. Once out of the city environment, he’d keep the addict in the van a week, two weeks, a month, drying them out, getting them clean, being there for them.

I came across him once parked at Vietnam Memorial Wall park in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  I didn’t realize at first what I was seeing.  I just saw his van with the white Ministry sign roughly painted on the side and recognized it and him outside it.  I stopped to chew the fat with him, then heard the moaning in the Econoline.  He caught my eye and shrugged.

“Trying to kick smack.  He’s on his second week.  It ought to start getting better in a few days.”  The odor of vomit, urine and human excretions was strong near the truck, so we drifted further afield as we talked.  Probably he was used to it, but I wasn’t.

Christian guy.  One of the Christians I’ve known that kept me believing there are honest-to-goodness bona fide Christians in the world.

I surely admired his guts, his determination and compassion.  There’s a lot about him I’d admire in myself if I looked inside me and surprised myself finding it there.

Nice to come across a Christian occasionally who isn’t all hat and no cattle.

I wonder what Jesus thought about sin.  Jesus did his talking about loving neighbors, compassion, peace-making, mercy, that sort of thing.  Hardly said anything about sin.  If he could speak his mind today I wonder if he’d forgive Saul of Tarsus the way he did Judas.”  Josephus Minimus

Here are a couple of blogs you might find of interest:

Urbandumpsterdiver’s Blog

Doing It Homeless

Old Jules

Kingston Trio-Reverend Mr. Black

John Lennon– Cold Turkey

13 responses to “Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why?

  1. Hey J. Talk about flashbacks from the 70’s. I ‘helped’ a junkie named Fordie in his effort to get clean from smack. I stayed with him night and day for 96 hours. It was a nightmare.(more so for him). Checked on him 6 months later and found out he died from an overdose. I might not have helped him so much, but it really helped me. Yep, 61 years ~heroin free! BTW, did you notice that Jesus was playing bass for John Lennon? Makes me so proud.

    • Hi Michael Ultra: Likely there’s competition for the bass spot.
      ROCK AND ROLL HEAVEN – Righteous Brothers {Toma’s Timeless Tunes # 971}

      Sounds as though your bud took the other road. No way of knowing how anything’s going to play out I reckons. Thanks for the visit and the comment. J

  2. Hi Buddy – I read this early this morning and have thought about it since then. I don’t really have an answer for that. Seems kind of strange in a way. There are quite a few I remember that I took a bit from each I guess. If there was that someone I suppose I wouldn’t have to think so hard.

    Keep a breeze blowing on ya!

  3. There was a professor many years ago who helped me so much. He and his wife were like mentors for me and the first people I’d ever known who seemed to honestly care. I’d returned to school after a few run-in’s and wanted to be a regular citizen and these guys for some reason trusted me in their home, left me there to house sit for weeks at a time, loaned me money, and wrote letters for me. That thing of being trusted made all the difference in the world for me, and I have not returned to the life since. I just keep trying to pass it on.
    I like the dumpster diver site but can’t figure out how to follow her.

  4. The thing I take away from this, and I’ve read it three times now, is that there are ” honest-to-goodness bona fide Christians in the world.”

    The thing to remember is Saul became Paul on the road to Damascus. He was struck blind until he was befriended, brought in to the house of one Phineas(?)- I need to get my Bible out – anyway, he realized the error of his ways, and we know the rest of that story. So forgiveness, whatever that is, probably came easy to Jesus, except for those money-changers. He knew when to take action.

    • Teresa Evangeline: I’m not a Christian, so I’m probably not as familiar as I should be with the story. My probably mistaken understanding is that the first three books describe hand-me-down observations of the words of the individual set to writing within a century, the fourth originating somewhat later set to writing in Syria. But all as nearly as 21st Century humans can get to what the individual in question said and did. Not much concerning sin and nothing about doctrine anywhere in those books about the words and life of that individual.

      Saul of Tarsus, however, never met the individual in question. Everything he knew about it was hearsay.

      However, Saul of Tarsus had an experience on the road to Damascus you’ve described, and believed his experience, convinced others of it. And this same Saul of Tarsus became the force and source of everything involving doctrine to come to be within the institution of Christianity.

      So, if Saul of Tarsus didn’t happen to be what he believed and convinced others to believe he was, he’d be responsible for creating something entirely outside the boundaries of what the individual in question had in mind for it. Which might need some forgiving.

      But of course, I’m not a Christian, so I’m probably wrong about all that. Thanks for straightening me out.


  5. Hold on a minute there. You’ve made some good points. I’m not a big Paul fan. He supposedly created doctrine that I believe veers drastically from what Jesus might have taught. Of course, the Church got its hand in there early and threw out what they didn’t want to promulgate and revised and reinterpreted, or so it seems, in ways that allowed them to control the story. Who knows where “the truth” lies, now or then. Maybe Paul’s words were as fabricated or toyed with as Jesus’ were.

    I’m not anything now.I don’t identify myself with any group. I like the melding of science and spirituality, maybe even science AS spirituality.

    I’m just muddling through, trying to keep my mind and heart open….

    • Teresa Evangeline: Thanks for returning. Actually I’m just paraphrasing what Josephus Minimus might have said in reply to your post because he’s indisposed. I probably shouldn’t be putting words into his mouth. I’ve got no interest in the matter, haven’t a clue what happened that long ago, but Josephus Minimus has a lot of ideas about all manner of things he refuses to keep to himself.

      I’m grateful for your visits.

  6. Many great influences in my life. Dad, Mom, Clayton and Ollie Sexton, Mrs. Krause, Diane Fossey (of Gorillas in the Mist) long before she was famous, et. al. Jules, this is a great post but that is essentially true of everything you write. The Reverend Mister Black is a very great song.

  7. I volunteered for two years in a high kill animal shelter. The dogs know when they are going to die. For the first week, I took one particular dog outside into a tiny courtyard. She was 6 months old. She was society’s trash…an empty bag of potato chips cast aside by humanity. She was a white dog with one brown spot on her. I fell in love with her. I could not adopt her, because I had two dogs already.

    About a week into our love affair, I walked toward the dog room inside the shelter to play with brownie. As I got closer to the door, I noticed the toy
    bone Brownie and I played with in the courtyard. I walked into the room and over to her cage. It was empty. The bastards killed her. I stayed in that shelter two years volunteering 40 hours per week which included doing postings of the dogs on craigslist when I got home. I have never left this unpaid full time job since they killed Brownie. I have seen tons of dogs killed because society is the trash. They trash unconditional love. There is no higher being for me than an animal. Animals tell the truth. Humans wear two faces.

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