If Jesus lived today, he would smell like smoke.

Whether it be from pot or from cigarettes or whatever else can be smoked, Jesus would smell like it. Not because he would partake in it himself, but because he would go out of his way to go to where the smokers were. He would go to them and be with them, get to know them and show them that they are worthy of love and that they can be saved from whatever they’re running from.

Jesus would know the sensation of stale beer drying on his shirt because somebody forgot to put their drink down before they hugged him. He’d never get drunk but he might have one beer, maybe two, socializing as he got to know the regulars at the bar. The ones who found their way there day after day, hearts too heavy to do anything but numb the pain. He’d go there and listen to their stories and help carry their burdens, lift them off their shoulders. He would be the person that everybody knew—knew was safe, knew was loving, knew would listen. The bartender would call him the ‘unofficial shrink’, and Jesus would smile and order another glass of water, ready to drive home whoever would need it that night.

He’d know the feel of gauze beneath his fingers as he wrapped it around a friend’s bleeding wrist. He wouldn’t ask, wouldn’t pry, just patiently clean and treat it with careful, calming touches. The story would eventually come tumbling out in the bathroom and Jesus would draw them close, hugging tightly, and do whatever he could to find the best help available when asked, when needed.

He would know the drained, yet relieved, morning after feel the day after (of?) a three a.m. phone call from a person who was desperate, because they didn’t know who else they could turn to. He would know the days when one cup of coffee isn’t enough to wake him up, where two cups of coffee almost doesn’t do it either, but the lethargy and the headache and the bags under his eyes are worth it because the person he was talking to is okay. He would do it again in a heartbeat, too.

He would always have somebody staying in his spare bedroom—if he wasn’t staying in somebody else’s spare bedroom himself. He knows what it is to be without a roof over his head, without a blanket to pull over his cold body, and he would do whatever he could to make sure others didn’t need to experience it—even just for a night. He’d keep an eye out for help wanted ads and help his friends on the street with their resumes and pay for their haircut and nice clothing for the interview, and he’d buy them dinner after whether they got the job or not.

He would know the need to go and grab another box of kleenex as the person at his kitchen table can’t help but cry at the feeling of not being enough, of needing to change themselves before people would love them, before they would be accepted. He would know the heave of their shoulders beneath his hand as he comforted them, reassured them that they are enough, that they are wonderful and beautiful and amazing and loved. So, so loved.

He would know the feeling of a tight bank account, not because he doesn’t know how to manage his finances, but because there are other people who need it more. Who need food for their families and clothing for their children and money for their rent. He would give of himself and build relationships with these people, connections with them, encouraging them to keep going. To keep striving. That life isn’t out to get them, and that they can succeed.

He would know the pain of a harsh word, thrown at him by a hurting soul, and he would stand tall and take it because sometimes a broken heart just needs to shout.

If Jesus lived today, he would smell like smoke. Not because he approves or because he doesn’t care, but because he knows that to love isn’t just being pleasant to other people and giving them a smile, it’s crawling into the trenches with them.

(credit: 31women) Not mine

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