By Darren Main • January 2000
Last month I wrote an article about giving from the heart rather than from the wallet. One of the reasons I wrote that article was to make a public statement of my intention, so that I would be a bit more accountable this holiday season. A few weeks ago I had the chance to experience that accountability first hand.
I was walking to one of my morning yoga classes when I saw a homeless man trying to get a large grocery cart filled with an assortment of stuff up onto the sidewalk. On top of this cart was a large Futon mattress and frame that made the whole thing very top heavy. It was clear that he was struggling and needed some help. Although I did my best to ignore him so I could make my commute to work would more swift, I kept thinking about the article I had sent out just a week earlier. That little voice would simply not let me pass him by. My tolerance for self-hypocrisy has gone way down, so I reluctantly stopped to help him.
I assisted him in getting his heavy and awkward cart off the street and out of the way. As we moved the cart, my ego went wild with judgment. His hair was matted and very dirty, and his clothes were covered with mud and dandruff. The shopping cart that I was helping him move was most likely stolen as were the things he had stuffed within it. Then an odd thing happened. He came up to me and gave me a hug. He was so grateful that someone had been kind to him.
My first reaction was resistance. I didn’t want to smell like a street person in my class. But in the split second that followed that judgment and fear, I surrendered. I felt a spiritual warmth pouring from this man’s heart that was so clear and pure and without condition that I knew I was touching God. I stood there on the side of Castro Street hugging this man for a good minute or so. At that moment, I didn’t know judgement. I didn’t care who saw me or if I would be on time for class. I felt like I was communing with a long lost friend, and I was once again reminded that we are all expressions of the Divine.
I like to think of people as “God in drag” because it helps me to remember that each person I meet in my day-to-day life is an expression of the Divine, and if I let my judgements go for even an instant, I will see beyond the clothing, the social status, and the tight little box I have tried to stuff them into. I thought I was being nice when I helped this man out, but the reward I received from this man was so much more, and all it took was the willingness to let go of my judgements.
It is astounding to think that every person you see in traffic or all those people who ride the bus with you are simply God playing peak-a-boo with you. Each person is a gift that is just waiting to be unwrapped. I hope that you will take the time to see the people you encounter for who they are this day and every day, and that you will remember that you too are God in drag.