Ben had been panhandling in front of the local burger shop, to no effect. He walked a half mile to a grocery store, jaunted around the back and came to the dumpster. He noted that the bag of collected Chinese food from the deli had not yet been dumped. He started picking through the salads, when he was interrupted.
“Hey, what are you doing in there?”
“I am gathering food for myself and my brothers.”
“Why don’t you get a job, earn some decent money and then you can come into the front of the store like a human being?”
Ben stood tall, with the soles of his shoes deep in the goo all dumpsters secretly prize as their own creation. “I do not get a job, fine sir, because I am called by the Lord God to live in poverty, from town to town, to recollect to all the love of Christ, who was homeless and poor.
“I do not earn decent money, because there is nothing decent about money, but it is but a trap to choke the life of those who have little to begin with.
“And finally, I am a full human being. Full of mercy, full of compassion, full of spirit, full of joy. It is you, sir, whose humanity I might question.
“Be a new man and follow the poor Christ, as I do.”
The manager wavered for a moment, and to fill the stunned silence, he responds, “Are you some kind of pastor?”
“No,” Ben chuckles. “I am just a poor and ignorant bum.”