The Fallen Cup

NORTHERN LIGHTS–Office of Prior Bumble. Prior Bumble addresses the soldiers with a life lesson from his recent experience.

Soldiers of the RFCP,

Yesterday I visited Manhattan for a business meeting. For those who don’t know, Manhattan is a borough of New York City, although some people mistake the two names for being synonymous.

It is, of course, the city which defines cities. I always enjoy visiting there.

With a population of 1.6 million and a finite amount of space, it’s the kind of place where there isn’t room for you unless you make room. And everyone steps up to that challenge. The greatest thing about New Yorkers in Manhattan is how unsurprised they are about anything. You could arrive at a coffee shop wearing an inflatable sumo wrestler costume and the clerk would say, “Hi, can I take your order?”

For newcomers it can be a rather intimidating place. With taxis honking and advertisement lights flashing, one doesn’t quite know where to look. I remember when I was much younger, I felt scared about the overwhelming crowd. I was certain I’d get stuck in them and be separated from my family. Crossing the crosswalk near the hurtling cars daunted me, too. But I followed along behind my dad, and I focused only on his shoes. I figured if I could follow his shoes, I didn’t need to worry about anything else around me to arrive at my destination safely. The same, I think, can be said for other things in life that really matter to us. When we have the right focus, we can stay on the correct course no matter the perils.

Nowadays I don’t walk behind a pair of shoes. I get there alone. But I’m still drawn to those anchoring moments of real meaning hidden among the jungle of the city.

On the way to the dinner meeting last night, I saw a young man coming towards me. He was around my age, and in a hurry. Dressed well, in a jacket, no tie. Then to my left I heard the hollow sound of plastic tumbling against the ground–his foot had accidentally kicked a homeless man’s offering cup. The change spilled out and jingled everywhere.

Before I could react, the young man (who was in such a hurry before) stopped, knelt down, and righted the cup. He pinched the coins one by one and dropped them back in. The homeless man sat there helping. Neither said a word to one another. When it was done, the young man left, the homeless man stayed put, and hell if the world went on without a clue that had just happened.

But I saw it.

It made me realize something: we have only the power to relieve a small, small fraction of the suffering and injustice in the world, and yet we must always do it.

Did those coins really matter? In total, they probably amounted to less than a dollar. Not enough to even buy a drink.

Was that young man’s actions able to lift the homeless man out of his situation and into a better life? Suppose not.

But he still righted the fallen cup.

Sometimes we accidentally kick the cups of others. Sometimes it’s the wind. And sometimes we knock down our own cups.

I know it doesn’t always seem like it matters in the long run what we do about such cups. But please, be like that young man. Kneel down and pick up the pennies. Just like him, you don’t have to say a word. And I suspect that that insignificant cup with an insignificant amount of change meant a lot more to the homeless man than any of us could have understood.

I am delighted to be back at this desk. I want this army to help all of us grow into the best human beings we can be, to help the unforgiving world we’re in. This blog series (part of the “From the Desk of the Commander” category) will share my fatherly wisdom with you, and occasionally address the state of the federation.

May we journey forward together. Erat ipso sacra.

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