The Story of Esperanza: Chapter 17

Chapter 17

While Esperanza and her group were traveling through Austin, one day, they walked under an overpass. This overpass happened to be a popular place for the homeless to “camp”. As they were moving through one of the homeless men recognized her. “Esperanza, teacher, please help us.” he called. When the groups eyes adjusted to the shade, she saw the skin lesions. She asked about them. The man who called out answered, “We cannot afford care, most of us have cancer of varying types. We are forced to choose between room and board, or treatment. Most of us chose treatment and go when we have enough for one of us to go.” Esperanza whispered to Pedro. Pedro pulled out his phone and began fiddling with it. She spoke to the man. “Gather all in your group, go and see the nearest oncologist. When you have you all will have room and board for as long as needed until you get back on your feet.” The homeless gathered their things and set out as a group as soon as they walked into the sunlight beyond the overpass those with skin lesions discovered they were gone. Those with pain felt none. The left to see the doctor. One of them when he saw that he was healed turned back. He ran and fell at Esperanza’s feet, thanking her. Now he was a trans person from female to male, which had him shunned by most in their group. Esperanza said to him, “Weren’t there more of you? Where are the others? Go, here is the address that you shall receive room and board, it will all be taken care of.” She motioned to Pedro who handed her his phone. She jotted down an address and handed a slip of paper to the man. She smiled and continued on her way.

As they walked on, Esperanza told her group a story. “There once was a judge. This judge was selfish and couldn’t care less about humanity. There lived a widow in the same city. This widow was constantly filing a motion for a restraining order against a man she claimed was stalking her. For a while this judge refused. One day he thought to himself, ‘I should just grant this filing so that I can have some peace around here, or else she will keep coming.’ Notice what the selfish judge says. The Divine hears your cries, and does not wait to answer them and give you what it is you need. When all is said and done, will you be selfish and not give to those who ask of you? How about this? Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Priest, and the other a banker. The priest stood and prayed aloud so that all may hear him. ‘Divine, I just, Lord, I thank you that I’m not like those sinners over there. I’m not gay, or trans, or a molester, or greedy, or even like this banker over here. I go to church every day, and I tithe 10%.’ But the banker, standing in the back corner, wouldn’t look up. He just stood looking at his feet. He prayed quietly in his mind, ‘Divine, have mercy on me a sinner!’ I tell you, the banker was more justified than the priest; for he asked and was given forgiveness.”

The group arrived at the convention center in Austin that Esperanza was teaching at. While getting things prepared, a senator for the state of Texas arrived at the convention center to speak with her. “My good lady, what must I do to have this life you tell your people about so often?” he said with an almost fake sounding southern drawl. Esperanza stopped what she was doing and looked him dead in the eye, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but the divine. You know the laws: don’t sleep around, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t commit perjury against a neighbor, and honor your parents.” He said to her with greasy smile, “Why, of course, my lady. I have grown up in a Jesuit church. I’ve followed those laws since I was little boy.” Esperanza never broke her stare, “One thing you lack, however, sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and then you will have the life you seek. When you do, come and follow me.” The fake smile he gave to the media and crowds broke. He now looked stern and woeful. He said with a bit of a quiver, “Thank you for your time, miss.” He turned and hurriedly retreated for he was very rich. Esperanza went back to what she was doing. As soon as the Senator left the area she said to her group, “How hard it is for the rich to enter into life! It is easier for a rocket scientist to perform brain surgery than it is for a rich person to discover life.” Philip asked, “Then who can be saved?” She said to Philip, “What you think impossible is the simplest thing for the divine.” Pedro turned, “But, we left everything for you.” Esperanza looked at them and smiled, ” You stayed with me through everything. You’ve discovered life. You will give others life. People now look to you for life. There is not one of you who has given up everything for this message that will not receive life in return for what you have given up.”

She continued, “For life is like a vineyard owner who went out early in the morning to hire day laborers. After he was out purchasing supplies, he spotted some more laborers and hired them as well. After lunch he found more and hired them as well. Later in the afternoon after a meeting with his distributors he found more and hired them as well. When the sun was setting the vineyard owner went out to his fields. He called all the workers in. He paid all of them the same wage for the day, even the ones he hired early in the morning. Those who were hired earlier complained. He said to them, ‘Didn’t we agree on this price this morning? I’m giving you more than a fair wage, I choose to give them the same wage. What I do with my money is my decision. Or would you rather begrudge my generosity?’ Life is generous and completely counter to what many would believe. The last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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