The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase;
and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.
I have always thought that being an owner of a motel would be a very difficult life. Dealing with the public is never easy since you are dealing with people from many diverse back grounds, as well as situations that can often be dire. Having to evict people, even families because they have to in order for the motel to survive financially must cause many landlords some deep suffering. People can get into situations where there is really no answer.
So I would think than many landlords have to steel themselves, even shut down, if they are running an establishment that is dealing with people, and families who are just trying to survive, who live from paycheck to paycheck. I would think that evicting people like that would be especially hard.
With the ongoing pandemic how to deal with this situation? I know a landlord who is showing me a deeply compassionate side that I never saw before. Not that he has ever led me to think that he did not have compassion, but the current situation is making this aspect of his humanity come to the fore.
A few of those who live in his motel are families, living in one room, hard workers, who are simply trying to start over again. Now, some of them have had their hours cut and can’t make rent. He does not want to evict them since he knows how hard it is to even begin to get a job if there is no permanent address.
He is working with me and a few others to help these people. He is paying the rent for some of the families, or part of it, if they still have money left over after essential expenses. He is losing money, but he can’t bring himself to evict them. Even with help from those he knows, he still pays half of the bill. I am impressed by his empathy for the plight of those who live there. I am worried, however, if this keeps up, those who are helping may have to stop. We have no money coming in at this time. I pray that the pandemic ends soon, or at least that we can find a way to get people back to work.
He is not a pushover. He has grown up in the motel business with his mother, and both of them know when they actually need to evict, or call the cops, etc. I have a deep respect for the mother. Her son has told me that in the past she has allowed others to take advantage, which is another issue landlords have to deal with.
I often wonder what life is all about. Is it about making a lot of money (which is not bad), of having a big house, or a big car, or being famous (?), (again, not bad in themselves), but is that it? What happens when we have everything we ever wanted?
The Scriptures, of course for Christians is a good place to start. Also, since I have been reading up on NDEs for years, I also believe that they can be a help to bring understanding to why we are here. It seems it is not about the above at all. Here is a quote about the meaning of life according to those who have had an NDE:
“Love is God and loving others and everything is all that really matters. Everything else, our achievements and material wealth, is totally irrelevant. The important thing is to love people, nature, animals, and everything in creation. Whether people realize it or not, love is what we seek and need to sustain us. Although love is too immense and profound to be fully known in one lifetime, without love we are nothing. To love everyone as ourselves, we must love ourselves else our love for others is false. It is impossible to be really happy if we only have love for ourselves. Until we give attention to others, we will not be able to grow spiritually. Our choice is between the spirit of God (self-love, love for others) and the spirit of self (selfishness, love only for self). By conquering self, we can change and grow easily, and know ourselves to be ourselves, yet one with the Whole. When we do unto others, we do unto ourselves.”
I choose the above quote because it a statement that is broadly expressed. Those who have NDEs come back with a different idea what life is about. I believe that what the landlord is doing, points to that reality in one small way. He probably does even realize the good he is doing, he just cares enough to want to help at this time. In chapter 25:31-46 in the Gospel of Matthew it deals with this reality, of loving and helping those who cannot repay. This is a way of showing love to the ones we help, as well as in reality, on some deep level, it is Christ Jesus who is being ministered to. Such is his connection with all of us. The poor, the imprisoned, the hungry, the unwashed and overlooked. When we love those who are ‘other’, we do not objectify them, but see, them as real, other self’s.
So this compassionate landlord is teaching me something important on what it means to be more truly human and having a deep connection with God.—Br.MD