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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chapter 27 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 27

Ch 27. The Prostitute

The Communist Party campaign manager got as much information about Jesus Josephovich as he could, and Volodomir finally helped him understand what the foreigner had been talking about when he kept mentioning “love for all men”, to the great relief of the campaign manager.

As they were discussing the situation further with the manager, a small group of shabbily dressed men, who were led by a dirty bum in a beautiful Italian leather coat, which did not at all fit his appearance, interrupted the conversation. The man in the leather coat shouted when he saw Jesus Josephovich and greeted the man with a hug and a kiss on either cheek.

“Here he is!” the finely dressed bum shouted. “This is the man I’ve been telling you about. Jesus Josephovich.”

Jesus Josephovich recognized him instantly. It was the drunken man he had spoken to earlier in the week. He had given the man his new Italian leather coat in the hopes that it would not only keep the man warm as he slept on the metro stairs in winter, but that it would also lend the man some confidence in the fact that God could still use him. Apparently it had worked.

The men in the group behind him were all shabbily dressed homeless men with scraggly beards who had more teeth missing than were left in their smiles. They smelled of body odor and other unmentionable things, but there was something different about this group of bums from other homeless people on the street. They were happy, almost child-like, and they were talking to each other like nothing was out of the ordinary about a group of homeless men out for a night on the town.

They greeted Jesus Josephovich and shook his hand as if they were being introduced to the President. The other people in the crowd backed away from the smelly mob, but Jesus welcomed them proudly.

“So you’re the crazy man who gave Ivan Andreyevich his coat,” said one of the men.

Jesus Jospehvich smiled with pride. “Ivan!” he shouted with joy. “You look fantastic. Are these your friends?”

“They are now,” Ivan Andreyevich replied. “I did just like you said. I’ve been sharing my drinks with these fellows here, and we haven’t stopped talking for three days. I tell you, I haven’t felt better than this in years. I feel like I can actually help someone. I feel like I have a purpose again.” As Ivan spoke, tears began to fill his eyes.

Jesus Josephovich put his hands on Ivan’s shoulders and nodded his head. “Well done,” he said. “I told you that you had something to give.”

“And you wouldn’t believe it, but the other day two large men came out of an alley and threw money at me. Then today on our way to find you a man came out of a casino and gave each of us $1000. Every day is a new blessing from God!” Ivan declared.

Volodomir stepped forward, but not too close, and smiled at the homeless troop. “So this is the man you gave the coat to.”

“As you can see, it was well worth it,” Jesus Josephovich stated.

Volodomir raised his eyebrows awkwardly, in an attempt to agree with Jesus’ assessment, but he was less than convinced. His son Leosha stifled a laugh.

“We would love to chat about what we’ve been doing,” Ivan said, “but we actually need your help.”

“There’s someone we want you to meet,” one of the homeless men said. “Someone who needs your help even more than we do.”

Jesus Josephovich agreed to help them. He said goodbye to the crowd and to the campaign manager, who was quite upset to see him go, and followed the men through the tunnels beneath the street into the Metro. They took the Metro two stations to Metro Kontractova Ploscha and exited the train.

Near the station, in the tunnels under the street, they found a young girl who was sitting on a cardboard box, with a beer in her hand, silently watching the crowds walk past. She was probably 15 or 16 years old, but she was so malnourished and thin that she could have been mistaken for a 12 year old. Her hair and clothes were black and her eyes were encased in thick circles of dark makeup. She smelled like cigarettes.

She saw the group of old homeless men coming and smirked coldly. Then she saw Jesus Josephovich and her face turned hard. She was not in the mood to meet new people, especially foreigners.

“Natalya,” said one of the old men. “We want you to meet the man who helped us. This is Jesus Josephovich.”

The girl scrunched her eyes at the name and nodded hello. Jesus Josephovich tried to smile at her sincerely, but she barely even glanced at him.

“He’s here to help you,” said Ivan, frustrated that the girl was not being friendly.

“I don’t need help,” she said.

“But yesterday you told us – ”

“I’m fine,” she claimed.

The group of men looked at Jesus Josephovich and began whispering in his ear.

“She’s an orphan,” one of the bums said. “She ran away from the government school and she’s living on the street.”

“She’s been making money… with her body,” Ivan whispered.

The girl suddenly became angry at their comments and cursed at them. “What do you know? Just leave me alone! How can you help me?”

“Is it true that you ran away from your school?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Do you want to know why I ran away?” she asked with morbid pride. “They raped me,” she said. “The boys at the orphanage. They do it to many of the girls when they are young. Some of us they never stop raping.”

The men were stunned silent. They stood uncomfortably still as Natalya looked at them. In that moment, they hated the fact that they were men.

Jesus Josephovich, however, was unfazed by her story. He knelt next to her on the ground. “I don’t blame you for leaving that place.”

“They raped me for free at the orphanage. At least now I get paid for it,” she said.

“There’s a group that can help her,” Ivan noted. “A charity group that helps street kids. They offered to help her, but she doesn’t want to go.”

“How do you feel about your situation?” Jesus Josephovich asked her. “Do you want to continue doing these things?”

“What else can I do?” she asked stubbornly. “Become a waitress?”

“Do you feel guilty about what you’re doing?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“No,” she said defiantly.

“Did you feel guilty when they raped you for the first time at the orphanage?”

The girl’s face froze and she looked down at her feet. “Yes,” she said, her mouth trembling.

“It’s interesting that you would feel guilty about something that someone else did to you, but you don’t feel guilty when it’s your own choice.”

Natalya stared into the beer bottle between her hands. “I don’t know why I felt that way. I was stupid. Now I don’t feel like I have any other choice. But then, when I was young, I thought that if this terrible thing was happening to me, then I must have done something wrong to deserve it.” She cleared her throat with difficulty.

“The innocence and humility of youth,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Children would rather blame themselves than admit that the people they love are harming them.”

The girl’s face hardened again. “Children are stupid.”

Jesus Josephovich sat next to her against the wall. “Can I have a sip of your beer?” he asked.

“Okay,” she said, surprised. She gave him the bottle. Ivan smiled to his friends as he watched Jesus try to encourage her the way he had encouraged Ivan.

Jesus Josephovich took a sip of the beer, handed it back to her, and leaned his head against the wall. “I want to tell you a story,” he said. “A wise Prince was searching for a Princess. He had two choices. One Princess was rich and beautiful and she had many suitors, but her good position in society made her arrogant. The other Princess was poor and ugly, and no one wanted to marry her. She knew this and it made her angry and moody, but in her heart she was humble and caring. Which Princess did the wise Prince choose?”

Natalya grimaced. “The beautiful one, of course.”

Jesus Josephovich shook his head. “The wise Prince chose the poor and humble girl, because he knew she would be loyal to him always. It was difficult at first, because she was not accustomed to being loved, but after a few years his love transformed her into a woman who was even more beautiful than the first Princess, because the goodness inside of her radiated from within like a bright light. Everyone who saw her was amazed, and she was completely loyal to him because it was his love that had made her beautiful.”

The girl was touched, but she attempted not to show it. “It’s a fairytale,” she reasoned.

“It’s you,” Jesus Josephovich said. “God wants to love you. His love will transform you. And I know that he will be more excited about helping you change your life than about a hundred beautiful girls whose lives are already easy and comfortable. It is because he knows that if you change, you will be loyal to him forever.”

There was a tear in the girl’s eye. She quickly wiped it away and sighed deeply.

Jesus Josephovich knelt on one knee and held her hand. “Do you accept God’s love?” he proposed.

The girl looked around at the group of homeless men, watching in anticipation. They looked so anxious that it almost made her laugh. She wiped her tears again and looked Jesus Josephovich in the eye.

“I do.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 26 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 26

Ch 26. Politics As Usual

Jesus Josephovich quickly found himself surrounded by a crowd of people at the Communist protest. The contrast between the harsh and angry protesters and the foreigner’s genuine care for people brought many interested listeners to Jesus.

No one knew exactly why he was there, but his discussions were so interesting that they couldn’t leave. He didn’t care about politics and he wasn’t asking for anything from anybody. He was there because he wanted to be, and they all felt as if he had something special to say personally to each one of them.

No matter how much he talked about real life, however, someone in the crowd would always try to bring the conversation back to politics. Maybe it was because of the giant “NATO” protest signs or the pro-Communist banners hanging all over the tents, but politics seemed an inescapable obsession.

Volodomir and his family waited for a while listening to Jesus Josephovich talk to the people at the rally, but eventually Elena and Katya got bored and decided to continue shopping. Volodomir stayed at the rally to make sure that nothing bad happened to his guest, and his son Leosha stayed with him in case something interesting happened that he didn’t want to miss, like a fight.

One of the bystanders, an older gentleman in a long black coat and a round black hat, tried to steer the discussion back to politics. “Our political situation is terrible,” the man said. “Should we just destroy our system and start again?”

“What government is perfect? In which country does it rule?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “If one of you knows a perfect man, then come, let him rule not only this country, but the whole world as well.”

No one answered Jesus’ challenge.

“It is our laws that are the problem,” another gentleman added. “We have one law that says you can’t do something, and another law that says you can. Everything is contradictory and even if a law is clear, nothing is enforced properly.”

“And where is the perfect law?” Jesus Josephovich replied. “Where is the law that prevents all men from harming one another? Where is the rule that keeps all men honest?”

“There is no such law,” the man answered. “It’s impossible.”

“There is such a law,” Jesus Josephovich stated. “This law is love. But it is neither a prohibition nor an obligation. Therefore, who can write such a law? I tell you, it cannot be written, it must be shown.”

A young man with wild tattoos on his body and piercings in his nose and eyebrow pushed his way to the center of the crowd. “In that case, we shouldn’t have any laws at all,” the young anarchist said. “We should let everyone do whatever they want to do. Why should we have to obey a government that doesn’t do what we want it to do? There is no perfect government, so there shouldn’t be any government at all.”

The crowd pushed in closer to hear the wild-looking young man. The anarchist’s presence seemed to heighten the nerves of everyone in the crowd. The police moved closer to the crowd. Leosha watched hopefully for any potential violent outbreaks.

“Only God is perfect,” Jesus Josephovich replied. “Therefore, to expect something other than God to be perfect is not only irrational, it is blasphemous.”

“But wouldn’t it be better not to have a government, than to have one that cheats the people?” the anarchist suggested.

“Somehow we imagine that a system made of people will have none of the faults of people.” Jesus Josephovich said. “Before you can judge a group of men, however, you must understand and judge yourself. Ask the same question of yourself then: is it better for me to live imperfectly according to certain rules, or to live with no rules at all?”

“I would rather live without any rules,” said the anarchist. “Then no one can tell me what to do. I don’t think society would degenerate and fall apart without a government. Do you?” the anarchist wondered.

“Again, you are trying to answer a question about all people,” Jesus Josephovich said. “We ask questions about governments because we are afraid to ask questions about our own lives. What you should be doing is answering the question for yourself. Do I have a purpose for my life?”

“I don’t need a purpose,” the young man said enthusiastically. “I just do whatever I want.”

“You may want to reconsider,” Jesus Josephovich warned. “A life without a purpose is like a car without a road.”

“Well if it’s a Ukrainian road then it still won’t help very much,” the anarchist joked.

Another man joined the conversation. He was a tall and confident businessman in his mid-thirties. He was wearing a nice suit and a thick black coat that almost touched the ground. The anarchist was clearly annoyed by his interruption and Leosha once again was on the lookout for a good quarrel.

“Capitalism is the only true way for a nation to prosper,” the businessman said loudly. “It is the richest political system in the world, so it is obviously the best.”

Jesus Josephovich scratched his beard and sighed. “Has it never occurred to you that money isn’t necessary? Does no one see that money isn’t real?”

The people were silent as they considered this idea.

Jesus Josephovich continued. “Money doesn’t do any of the things we want. Money is merely a guarantee that when we have done what we promised, we will receive what has been promised to us. But it is an empty promise.”

“But without money, we couldn’t have a civilized society. You can’t barter with buildings and cars,” the businessman said.

“Everything that has ever been created or built was made by human hands. Money didn’t lift a single brick. Everything that has ever been invented or designed was developed by a human mind. Money has never created a single idea.”

“Money motivates people,” the businessman argued.

“Two men are making shoes for a young boy,” Jesus Josephovich said. “The first man was paid a high sum of money to make the shoes. The second man was not paid anything, but the boy that he is making the shoes for is his son. Who will make the better pair of shoes?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Probably the father,” the businessman admitted.

“Why?”

“Because he loves his son.”

“What is it that you really want?” Jesus Josephovich asked the crowd. “People want money because they think it will bring them the things they want. They think it will give them material possessions, peace of mind, security, opportunities. But what if we gave each other something worth even more than all of these things rather than money? What if we gave each other love? Is there anything more valuable? Is there any stronger motivation?”

“But you can’t love everybody,” the businessman said.

“Were you here during the revolution?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Yes,” the businessman answered.

“And did you love all the people around you?”

“I did,” the businessman admitted, as he recalled that special time when everyone was united in purpose and in thought, and when everyone, even complete strangers, felt like brothers and sisters.

“Then it is possible,” Jesus Josephovich said. He climbed onto the base of a large statue, turned to the crowd and spread his arms.

“Look at the things that man has built for money,” he said. “Imagine what man could do for love. If every man loved every man, what could mankind build?”

“A paradise,” shouted Volodomir.

The entire crowd paused and seemed to relax as this idea flowed through their minds. Suddenly a short, fat man grabbed Jesus Josephovich by the arm and pulled him away from the crowd. He smiled greedily and never looked the foreigner in the eye as he spoke.

“Jesus Josephovich,” the fat man said as if he had known him for years. He vigorously shook the foreigner’s hand while scanning the crowd. “You are putting on quite a show. You’ve attracted more people then our entire protest. How would you like to work for our campaign?”

“Who are you?” Jesus Josephovich asked, confused by the interruption.

“I am the manager of this campaign. We have powerful supporters. We can pay you well,” he added in a whisper.

Jesus Josephovich put his arm tenderly around the nervous fat man. “Can you pay me in love?”

The pudgy campaign manager laughed loudly. “Of course we can. We can pay you in any way you desire. Do you prefer blondes or brunettes?” he whispered.

Jesus Josephovich gave his friend Volodomir a confused look. Volodomir put his hand to his head, embarrassed. Little Leosha started giggling; this was even better than a fight.

He turned back to the campaign manager. “Maybe you don’t understand. My love is for all men.”

The campaign manager’s plump round eyes opened wide and he froze momentarily. He giggled nervously and looked around at the crowd. “Oh. You’re one of those,” he said. “It’s not a problem. We can get you whatever, or whoever, makes you happy,” he whispered.

“Then I would like to start with you,” Jesus Josephovich said.

“What do you mean?” the portly man replied worriedly.

“I must show you how to love all men,” Jesus Josephovich said.

For the first time in a long time the campaign manager was speechless.

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 25 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 25

Ch 25. The Communists

Jesus Josephovich returned to Volodomir and his family with his winnings from the casino. They were more than a little bit shocked when he reached into his pocket and handed Katya several large bills.

“What’s this for?” she asked.

“For the cell phone,” Jesus Josephovich said with a smile.

“Where did you get the money?” Leosha wondered.

“God always provides,” Jesus Josephovich answered.

The family walked out of the Globus underground mall and into Independence Square. The entire square was covered with a thin layer of bright white snow and the soft gray sky enveloped the city in a feeling of quiet peacefulness. This tranquil view was almost completely disrupted, however, by a giant stage set up on one side of the street with massive banners proclaiming, “NATO – NO!”, from which loud Soviet style music was being trumpeted across the square. On the other side of the street, a large group of people was gathered waving red flags and occupying tents while shouting at pedestrians.

“Who are they?” Jesus Josephovich inquired.

“Those are the Communists,” Volodomir said with displeasure. “We should stay away from them. It’s not good for a foreigner to be there.”

“What do they want?” Jesus Josephovich questioned further.

“They want things to be the way they were under Communism. They don’t like the current political system. But it’s all just politics anyway. They were paid a lot of money to stand out there and yell.”

Jesus Josephovich quickly walked across the street towards the crowd with the red banners. Volodomir tried to stop him but it was too late. He begrudgingly followed behind the foreigner at a distance hoping that Jesus wouldn’t get himself into trouble.

Some old men saw the foreigner walking towards them and began to yell at him, “NATO, NO! Go home Yankee Foreigners!”

Jesus Josephovich walked up to them and smiled politely. “What’s a Yankee?” he asked.

“You’re not an American?” they questioned.

“No. I’m from the Middle East.”

“My God,” an old woman yelled. “Then you must understand why we don’t want America interfering in our country. Look what they have done to the Middle East!”

The other protesters noticed that a foreigner was talking to some of the people in their group, and they began to gather around him to listen and see if they could shout out a few words of their own opinions.

“What have they done?” Jesus Josephovich asked innocently.

“War,” an old man said. “They start wars and they steal oil.”

“War is always a terrible thing,” Jesus Josephovich agreed. “And yet, our countries often take more pride in it than in anything else.”

Another old man came into the group. He stood very close to the foreigner as he talked. His breath smelled like beer. Jesus Josephovich wasn’t sure if the man was angry at him, or if he was just so old that he had to stand very close to him in order to hear.

“We used to be proud of our country,” the elderly man said. “It was a great country with a great history. The Soviet Union provided everything for the people. And what do we have now? Now these greedy politicians and foreign businesses have taken everything and they do nothing for the people.”

“What do you want?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“We want the government to give the people what they deserve,” the man said.

An old woman in a thick coat and an old headscarf grabbed his arm. She yelled at him as if it was his fault that all of this was happening. “We need a bigger pension!” she said. “We can’t live on what they give us. We worked hard our whole lives for the Soviet Union, and now we have nothing. It isn’t fair!”

Jesus Josephovich put his hand comfortingly on her shoulder. She became very quiet and wasn’t sure if the foreigner had understood her.

“Who do you support?” the first old man asked. “Which political party are you from?”

“I don’t worry about politics,” Jesus Josephovich said. “I believe that people should follow God if they want to be happy.”

“God?” the old man said. “God is a personal matter. This is politics. Politics affect everybody.”

“Politics and laws are like the tides of the ocean,” Jesus Josephovich said. “They slowly guide a drifting boat in a general direction. But the heart and spirit of a nation is like the rudder of a boat; it can instantly change its direction to the right or to the left. God is the guide for our hearts,” he explained. “New laws and new political ideologies take many years to make major changes in a country, but a new spirit, a new heart, can change the world in a day.”

The protesters were impressed by this statement, but they were not convinced that this foreigner didn’t represent a political party. Somehow, politics were always involved.

“So what does God want us to do?” the woman asked poignantly. “Does he want us to starve to death from these pitiful pensions?”

“I don’t think so,” he laughed. “God wants you to give to each other. To help each other. To love one another,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “If you live only for yourself, you will never have enough, but if you live for each other, you will always have an abundance.”

Another elderly man stepped forward who knew the Bible well. “The Christ said that people should give their money to the poor and that the rich should share their wealth with everyone,” he challenged.

“Oh yes,” Jesus Josephovich agreed. “To live in the kingdom of Heaven you have to give up everything that you have. We will all share everything.”

“So there. You believe in Communism,” said the old man victoriously. “The government takes everyone’s money and spreads it evenly throughout society.”

“The government?” Jesus Josephovich repeated the word fretfully. “Oh no. I would never want the government to take everyone’s money. In the kingdom of Heaven, no one tells people to give their money away. They just do it themselves, of their own giving hearts.”

“But what’s the difference if the government takes my money and gives it to the poor or if I give my money directly to them?” the man argued.

“The difference is in the attitude of your heart,” Jesus Josephovich stated. “If someone takes your money, you think them a villain, but if you give your money to someone freely, you think them blessed.”

“Isn’t it better to have a law so that I don’t forget to give or lie about it? Surely it is better to be forced to give than to never give at all?” the man argued further.

“It does nothing for your heart and soul if you are forced to give things,” Jesus Josephovich answered. “It only helps you and the other person when the gift is from the heart. The man forced to give and the man forced to receive would be better off with nothing at all, for then they would not deceive themselves into thinking that they were doing their spiritual duty.”

Volodomir had been listening to the conversation and stepped in to help his friend. “Besides,” Volodomir added, “once the government touches the money, you’ll be lucky if one tenth of your gift reaches those it was meant for.” A few people laughed. Others groaned morosely.

“You should give to each other and help each other, but it must be out of love; otherwise you gain nothing from it, and the other person learns nothing from it,” Jesus Josephovich emphasized. “The person who receives will never be happy unless they learn to love other people. You can provide everything in the world for someone, but if they don’t become a more loving person, then what was the point?”

The confused crowd began yelling and arguing about many different topics, and Volodomir started feeling a bit worried for his friend. Then Jesus Josephovich suddenly gave the nearest old woman a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. She began to laugh. The crowd quieted.

“You see,” Jesus Josephovich said to the woman. “It is not laws that are important, but action. Talk is talk, but love is love. Take action. Love someone. That is how you will make a difference.”

The people around her started to talk and giggle.

“Maybe that will work,” she said with a childish grin.

“Let me show you.” Jesus Josephovich began to give strangers on the street a hug and then talk to them about their problems. He soon had a large group of people around him, listening to him. The Communist protesters were impressed.

Instead of yelling and shouting at bystanders, the protesters followed his example and they soon had a large group of interested people standing with them discussing various topics. The entire atmosphere of the rally changed from that of anger and hostility to one of comradeship and understanding.

Volodomir and his family were shocked. “Maybe you should run for President,” Volodomir’s son joked.

Jesus Josephovich laughed. “I thought the Communists didn’t like foreigners,” he said.

Volodomir put a hand on his shoulder. “Stalin was from Georgia and Lenin had Jewish roots. If you can win an election, you’re not a foreigner,” he said. “You’re a comrade.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 24 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 24

Ch 24. Slots

On Saturday, Volodomir took Jesus Josephovich along with his family on a walk in the center of the city. The main street was closed and people were walking along enjoying the winter scene and browsing through the shop windows at clothes that were far too expensive for most of them to buy.

There were many couples walking hand in hand, including the occasional scary old man with a gorgeous young blonde whom everyone knew had to be rich, in the mafia, or a foreigner. Groups of rowdy young men in black coats carrying beers meandered through the streets yelling and making flirtatious remarks to the young women who always walked in pairs and pretended not to listen. Various musicians played the guitar, the violin, or the accordion, enduring the cold winter afternoon in the hopes of earning a few extra dollars and a few moments of stardom. Their music floated down the main boulevard and provided a peaceful contrast to the boisterous vendors with their flashing toys and cheap touristy items.

Volodomir’s family bought some food at the underground shopping center, appropriately called Globus, and then walked around to do some shopping. Katya tried her best to explain all the newest European fashions and to justify the necessity of their extravagant prices. Leosha showed their foreign guest all the most popular movies and music, but he had a difficult time explaining why all the people on the covers of the CDs were wearing so little clothing. It didn’t seem to make much sense in such a cold country.

After a few hours of walking around, Jesus Josephovich parted from the group to try to find a toilet. He walked out of Globus into the underground crossing where dozens of small kiosks and shops lined the walls. He noticed a colorful window that said “Games”. It seemed to be a large establishment, so he decided to see if they had a decent restroom.

When he walked inside, he was amazed to see that the room was filled from wall to wall with large electronic machines. They were brightly colored and were making all kinds of strange sounds. At first he thought they might be video games, like the ones young Leosha played at home, but he soon saw an older gentleman cheer briefly as his machine began to spit out several coins and he realized that this was some form of computerized gambling.

The men playing the games were a strange sight. They sat slovenly at their machines, never taking their eyes off the screen, and pushed the buttons robotically, as if it were a tiresome job rather than a leisurely activity. The air was filled with smoke and smelled of alcohol and sweat, and Jesus Josephovich couldn’t help wondering if he had come to the wrong place to find a clean bathroom.

He was too fascinated to leave, however, so he took a seat next to an older gentleman in a long gray coat and watched him play on the machine. This particular machine was simulating some kind of card game and Jesus Josephovich watched with interest as the man chose his cards and pressed the big red button that would determine his fate.

The man cleared his throat uncomfortably when the strange foreigner sat next to him and started watching his game. He shuffled nervously in his seat and glared at Jesus Josephovich from the corner of his eye, wondering what the foreigner wanted.

Jesus Josephovich smiled brightly. “How does this work?” he asked, intrigued.

The man grimaced and spoke without taking his eyes off the screen. “It’s a gambling machine,” he said, with annoyance. “Just put your money in and press the buttons.”

“That sounds easy,” Jesus Josephovich said. He pulled out a small bill and put it into the machine. The electronic screen flashed several cards. He pushed a few buttons and then pushed the big red button that he had seen the other gambler push to end the round.

Suddenly the machine lit up and made a joyful trumpeting sound as the number of credits increased. He had won.

The man next to him glanced at him jealously.

“They just give you money?” Jesus Josephovich said.

The gambler cleared his throat and sighed. “You don’t usually win,” he said. “There’s a chance you can win a lot of money, but these machines are rigged so that you will usually lose.”

Jesus Josephovich examined the machine with increased interest and pressed the buttons again. He won again.

The man stared at the foreigner’s screen discontentedly. The foreigner had already quadrupled his money.

“If you usually lose, why do you play?” Jesus Josephovich wondered. It was fun to win, but he imagined that losing a bunch of money to a machine couldn’t be that entertaining.

“I have a strategy. I’ve calculated that if I play using my own strategy I can make about $10 per hour, on average,” the gambler explained. “That’s more than I would make in most jobs.”

“Do you actually make that much when you gamble?” Jesus Josephovich wondered. He pressed some buttons on his machine and it began ringing cheerfully once more.

“No,” the man admitted, enviously watching the foreigner’s ever increasing credits. “But sometimes I get close. It’s better than wasting time in a real job though.”

Jesus Josephovich considered his statement. “But at the end of this kind of work, you have nothing to show for it,” he observed.

“I have money,” the man said.

“But you have nothing of value. Nothing that will last. No new knowledge, no new skills, no pride in accomplishing something great or difficult, no joy in helping another person.”

The gambler frowned. “What does it matter? I only work because I need money,” he said callously. “If I didn’t need money, I wouldn’t work.”

“You think you’d be happier if you never had to work?” Jesus asked.

“Of course,” the man replied. “That would be Heaven.”

Jesus Josephovich shook his head. “Why do people think that God just sits around all day doing nothing?” he asked. “God is the Creator. He’s always creating new things. That is his nature, and we are like him. We cannot be content sitting around doing nothing forever. It is against our nature. Create something. Build something. Help someone. Then you will begin to understand your nature and what will truly make you happy forever.”

The man stared at Jesus Josephovich for a long moment with bewildered eyes. Jesus pressed a few buttons on his machine and won again, for the fourth time in a row. The gambler was astounded.

“If I had your luck, I could be very creative with all that money,” he said, as he watched the foreigner’s machine add up his credits to over $100.

“You know that most people who win money this way lose it just as quickly,” Jesus Josephovich warned. “Most people who become millionaires by winning the lottery end up divorced and unhappy – less happy than when they were poor.”

“I don’t think that would happen to me,” the gambler replied. “If I had a million dollars, I would know what to do with it.”

“And what if you never win?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “What if you just sit here and make $10 an hour? At the end of your life, do you really want to say that you lived every moment for money? Is that a life?”

“Why do you care?” the man said bitterly. “Why are you asking me all these questions?”

“I want you to be happy,” Jesus Josephovich said.

The gambler stared at him and examined his face. The foreigner wasn’t joking.

The man looked at Jesus Josephovich’s machine and saw the amount of money he had won. “You want to make me happy?” the man said. “Push the button for me.”

“If I help you win, you have to promise to stop gambling.”

“Okay, sure,” the gambler said, shrugging his shoulders apathetically. “Win me enough and I won’t have to gamble any more,” he joked.

The gambler watched as the foreigner pressed the buttons and chose a few cards. “Not that one,” the gambler advised. “You don’t want to keep that card.”

Jesus Josephovich shot him a serious glance, and the man stopped talking and put his hands in the air humbly. “Okay. You press whatever buttons you want.”

Jesus Josephovich continued and then pressed the big red button. The machine lit up brighter than it ever had, wild music started playing loudly, and the words “Jackpot” floated across the screen.

The gambler couldn’t believe his eyes. He was so happy he nearly cried. Then he realized that the foreigner might want to take all the money. He looked at Jesus Josephovich with the eyes of a frightened animal, but the foreigner was smiling at him warmly.

“This could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you, or the worst thing,” Jesus Josephovich warned. “Take my advice: give the money away to the first poor person you see. Spend it and you will have temporary pleasure. Give it away and you will have something of lasting value. You will have helped another human being and you will have taught yourself an important lesson.”

“I will, I will,” the man promised in his exuberant joy. “I mean, some of it.”

A large man in black sunglasses walked over to the gambler and congratulated him. He handed the man a piece of paper that would allow him to collect his jackpot.

As the gambler went to collect his money, the security guard quickly unplugged the two winning machines.

Jesus Josephovich stifled a laugh as he collected his winnings and exited the miniature casino. He hoped that the man would come to his senses sooner rather than later. He also hoped that he could find a decent bathroom soon. But then again, using any public bathroom in Ukraine was a gamble.

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 23 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 23

Ch 23. The Invader

After being robbed in the alley, Jesus Josephovich returned to Volodomir’s apartment with no money, no cell phone, and a big smile on his face as if nothing bad had happened at all. In fact, he was quite excited about meeting his two new friends in the alley, whose names, unfortunately, he forgot to get before they ran away.

Katya was furious about the cell phone, but when she learned that their foreign guest had been robbed, she was able to give him a little forgiveness.

“I’ll have to get you a new one tomorrow,” she said.

“I really don’t need one,” Jesus Josephovich remarked, remembering the debacle in the cathedral. “They’re more trouble than they’re worth, I think.”

“You can’t live in Kiev without a cell phone,” Katya shouted in dismay.

“We’ll see,” Jesus Josephovich replied.

They walked into the living room and Katya’s younger brother, Leosha, was sitting on the couch, watching a movie on television. It was an American action movie poorly dubbed into Ukrainian. A monotone Ukrainian voice translated each phrase after it was spoken in English, creating a bizarre mix of English and Ukrainian being spoken at the same time.

A car exploded in the movie and a group of men fired weapons at a solitary hero who quickly disposed of them with a few shots from his machine gun. Blood splattered across the screen and the enemy soldiers screamed in agony as explosions lit up the background. Leosha laughed.

“What is this?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Some action movie,” Leosha answered.

Katya grunted. “Your action movies are so stupid,” she screamed.

“They’re better than your romances,” Leosha replied.

“Oh yeah. Shooting people is much better than falling in love,” Katya said sarcastically.

“People never fall in love the way they do in those movies,” Leosha said. “They know each other for three days and they want to get married.”

“And you think this is realistic?” Katya shouted. “It’s as bad as your video games.” She folded her arms angrily and walked out of the room.

On the television, the action hero snuck up behind a soldier and cut his throat with a large hunting knife. The enemy soldier fell to the ground dead.

“Is this a good movie?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“Not really,” Leosha said.

“Then why are you watching it?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“I have nothing better to do,” Leosha admitted.

The action hero ran through a long hallway and into another room full of enemy soldiers. He quickly blew them all to pieces with a grenade and shot any survivors.

Jesus Josephovich was amazed at the violence. “Is this a true story?” he asked.

“No,” Leosha laughed. “It’s just for fun.”

“Killing people is fun?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“In a movie it is, I guess.” Leosha suddenly felt uncomfortable.

A moment later there was a scream from Katya’s bedroom. They all ran into her room to see what was the matter. Katya was sitting on top of her desk staring frantically at her bed.

“What happened?” her mom asked.

She pointed to her bed with a shaking hand. “There’s a huge spider on my bed.”

Leosha started laughing. Her mother and father glanced at each other and sighed.

Leosha ran over to the bed and located the intruder. It was a big, thick, black spider. It looked like a killer insect out of an old horror movie.

“Wow, that’s a big one,” Leosha said. He was impressed.

Leosha raised the blankets in the air and shook the spider. He aimed the blankets at Katya.

“Would you be angry if I threw him at you?” her brother asked courteously, about to launch the spider in the air at his sister.

“No! Don’t!” Katya screamed and ran out the door. She peeked her head in around the door frame. “Don’t Leosha! That’s gross!” Leosha laughed.

Volodomir reentered the room with a newspaper rolled up in his hand.

“What are you going to do?” Katya asked.

“I’m going to smash it,” Volodomir said, illustrating the technique by hitting the newspaper against the palm of his hand. He walked over to the spider and raised the newspaper above it. He was about to crush the creature when Jesus Josephovich grabbed his hand.

“Let’s try something else,” Jesus Josephovich said. Volodomir put the newspaper down and watched Jesus Josephovich as he sat on the bed next to the ugly spider. Their guest laid his hand gently on the blanket and let the spider calmly crawl into his palm. Leosha watched with excitement.

Jesus Josephovich held the spider up to his face and examined it. The spider crawled across his hands trying to get away. “He’s a big one,” Jesus Josephovich said. “But he’s harmless. Less harmful than we are at least. See?”

He held the spider up towards Katya and she screamed again and hid herself further behind the doorway. Leosha chuckled.

“Why don’t you kill it?” Leosha asked, looking at the newspaper in his father’s hands.

“Why should I kill it?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Because it’s a spider,” Leosha said. “Spiders shouldn’t be in our apartment.”

“Maybe his family lived here before this apartment was built,” Jesus Josephovich suggested. “Maybe we’re invading his territory. Maybe he has just as much right to live here as we do.”

“But it’s just a spider,” Leosha replied. “It doesn’t matter if we kill it.”

“But it’s good practice,” Jesus Josephovich argued. “You’re practicing to be a spiritual warrior, right?”

Leosha nodded reluctantly.

“Well then, if you can teach yourself to value the life of this ugly little spider,” Jesus Josephovich explained, “then you can teach yourself to always cherish the life of every human being.”

Leosha stared at the spider, unconvinced.

Katya was still cowering in the hallway. “I don’t care what you do with it,” she said. “Just get it out of my room!”

Jesus held up his hand to Leosha. “Do you want to hold him?”

The boy nodded and Jesus Josephovich passed the spider into his hands.

Leosha was fascinated by the bug as it crawled around his fingers. He had to hold it very carefully so as not to hurt it. It was very fragile. Holding it in his hands, he realized, for the first time, that this little bug was not just a pest, but a life.

Leosha handed the spider back to Jesus Josephovich. He watched it crawl frantically around the foreigner’s hands as it searched for a safe place to rest.

“What should we do with it?” Leosha asked.

“Let him find a safe home,” Jesus Josephovich answered. “Open the window.”

Leosha opened the window and Jesus Josephovich carefully carried the spider across the room. He smiled at the spider and gently placed it on the window sill outside. It quickly crawled away.

“Good luck my friend,” Jesus Josephovich said to the spider.

Leosha smiled and watched the spider crawl across the window sill. He didn’t know why, but in that moment, in the life of that little spider, he understood more clearly the value of life than from any sermon or philosophy or school lesson that he had ever heard. The way this strange foreigner treated that tiny bug with such respect and caring made a bigger impression on his young mind than any act of heroism he had seen on television or in films. This was real.

“Is it gone?” Katya asked fretfully.

“Don’t worry,” Leosha said. “He can’t hurt you. He’s going to find himself a new home.”

The family left Katya’s room in peace and Leosha took their foreign guest back into the living room. The action movie was still blaring on the television. Bullets were flying and cars were exploding.

Leosha stared at the television for a moment and then changed the channel. He found another dubbed movie, this one from France, and called to his sister.

“Katya! There’s some stupid romance on,” he said. He looked at Jesus Josephovich and grinned. “Do you want to watch it?”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 22 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 22

Ch 22. Mugged

Volodomir and Jesus Josephovich escorted Irina Alexandrovna to her home after her emotional breakdown in the restaurant. Surprisingly, though she had wept as if death were upon her, by the time they brought her to her apartment, she was smiling and laughing with an innocent spirit that completely amazed Volodomir. He had never seen her like this before.

It was as if Irina had returned to her childhood. The cynical executive had transformed into a wide-eyed little girl. Rather than complain about everything, she saw the world through new eyes and everything excited her. She saw beauty and possibility where before she had seen only ignorance and obstacles.

When they had gotten her into her apartment, Volodomir looked at Jesus Josephovich with a profound respect that verged on fear. “What did you do to her?” he asked.

Jesus Josephovich shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. “I didn’t do anything to her,” he said. “Whatever she heard was her own creation. It was her own voice that she was hearing. Her own judgments and opinions.”

“Warn me before you do anything like that to me,” Volodomir requested.

“I would never do anything without your permission,” he promised. “I am at your service.”

They returned to Volodomir’s apartment and, as they entered the building, Jesus Josephovich stopped and walked back to the door.

“Where are you going?” Volodomir asked.

“I want to take a walk alone,” Jesus Josephovich said. “I haven’t had much time alone lately.”

Volodomir walked over to him and handed him his large Russian fur hat. “Take this,” he said. “It’s cold outside.”

The hat fit snugly on Jesus’s head and its wide square shape made him look like an Eskimo. He nodded his head in thanks and headed out into the snowy night.

Outside it was bitterly cold, but there was no wind and the moon was shining through the black clouds like a spotlight on a darkened stage. There were very few streetlights and Jesus Josephovich found himself walking in almost complete darkness through the alleyways as he tried to find his way to the park.

Walking down a particularly dark alley, he heard a noise behind him and something hit him on top of the head. Glass shattered to the ground and he turned around to see two burly men in black leather coats and black hats who looked like they were ready for a fight.

“Hello,” Jesus Josephovich said calmly. “Can I help you?”

The two men froze. They looked at each other, unsure of what to do. The first man looked at the broken glass beer bottle that he had just hit the foreigner over the head with. Jesus Josephovich’s thick hat and dense hair had cushioned the blow so that he had barely felt it, but the two muggers were thinking about how strong this man must be to not be bothered by such an assault. Plus, the foreigner wasn’t afraid. He was calm. Too calm.

The man with the broken bottle stuck the jagged glass in Jesus Josephovich’s face and nervously asked him for his money. The other man moved around to his side to block his escape.

But the foreigner didn’t run. In fact, Jesus Josephovich was very obliging. “How much do you need?” he asked.

“All of it,” the mugger yelled.

“I wish I could give you more,” Jesus Josephovich said as he pulled all the bills that Volodomir had given him out of his pocket. “I don’t have very much money. I’m not from around here.” He handed the mugger the money with a smile.

The second robber grabbed the money out of his hand and started to count it. The first robber held the broken glass closer to Jesus Josephovich’s neck.

“If you need more I can ask my hosts if they can help you too,” Jesus Josephovich suggested kindly.

The muggers were surprised at the mention of others. They looked around them but didn’t see or hear anyone else in the area.

“Where are these hosts?” the man with the bottle asked aggressively.

“Oh, they’re at home in their apartment,” Jesus answered.

“That’s okay,” the mugger said cautiously, unsure what the strange foreigner was trying to do. “It won’t be necessary. Do you have anything else on you?”

Jesus Josephovich thought about this for a moment. “I don’t have any money, but I have a phone.” He felt in his pocket for the cell phone that Katya had bought him and gave it to the two men. “You can keep it,” Jesus Josephovich said. “It’s been more trouble than it’s worth.”

The second mugger flipped it open, glanced at the model number, and then closed it and put it in his pocket.

The first mugger was becoming increasingly nervous. He didn’t like Jesus Josephovich’s calm attitude. He thought that the foreigner was trying to trick them somehow. He brought the bottle closer to Jesus Josephovich’s neck.

Jesus Josephovich looked into his eyes. “Why are you so nervous?” he asked. “Do you feel guilty about asking other people for help?”

“What are you talking about?” the man whispered angrily. “I’m not asking for your money, I’m taking it.”

“But if it’s a gift, then it doesn’t matter if you’re taking it or if I’m giving it. It makes me happy either way.”

The man stared at Jesus Josephovich, thinking that at any moment he was going to start laughing at them, but there was no sign of humor in the foreigner’s tranquil face. “How can you be happy about this?” the criminal questioned.

“Because I know it will help you,” Jesus Josephovich replied. “There are many people who need help in this city. Beggars on the street, old women without their families, misdirected teenagers, and even regular businesspeople who don’t know what to do with their lives. They all need help, and nothing makes me happier than to give it to them.”

The muggers glanced at each other. “Who are you?” the first mugger wondered.

“My name is Jesus,” he said. “Jesus Josephovich.”

“Jesus,” the first robber repeated nervously, and crossed his heart in the orthodox tradition. The two muggers began to back away very slowly. They looked like frightened kittens as their mouths gaped and their eyes popped halfway out of their heads.

“You shouldn’t feel guilty about asking other people for help,” Jesus Josephovich said, moving towards the retreating muggers. “I wouldn’t hit people over the head with bottles any more though. Somebody could get hurt, and that would be bad.”

The two muggers walked backwards faster as Jesus Josephovich approached them. At the end of the alley, they slipped on a sheet of black ice and fell on their backs. Jesus Josephovich stood over them and they held their hands up in defense.

“Please don’t hurt us,” the first mugger said.

Jesus Josephovich stood over them in the cold alley. Above his head was a single streetlight that wrapped around his shadowed form like a mystical halo, frightening the muggers even more. He slowly extended his arms, grabbed the muggers’ hands, and helped them to their feet. The muggers looked at him with guilty eyes.

“You know, God still loves you,” Jesus Josephovich said.

The first mugger swallowed nervously. The other shuffled his feet.

“I know it’s difficult to believe when you feel so guilty all the time,” Jesus continued. “When you have a lot of hate in your heart, sometimes you forget that other people don’t feel that way. Sometimes you forget that God doesn’t feel that way either. You think that because you are angry at everyone around you, that they are angry at you too. That God is angry at you. But it isn’t true. God is love.”

“I’m sorry,” the first mugger said. His hands were shaking as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the money that Jesus Josephovich had given him. “Please, take it back.”

Jesus Josephovich shook his head. “Money isn’t important. What’s important is how you treat other people. If you want to give the money back, find someone who needs it more than you and give it to them as a gift.”

The mugger held the money in his hand and then slowly put it back in his pocket.

“You can change,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Just start loving other people in your heart and in your actions, and soon you will realize that God still loves you. He always has and he never stops, no matter what.”

Jesus Josephovich gave the man a hug, and then embraced his companion. He walked away and vanished into the darkness as the two muggers simply stood there and stared at him, wondering what had happened to them. A shiver went up their spines. They ran off and gave the money to the first homeless man that they saw, crossing their hearts and praying to God not to curse them.

Jesus Josephovich eventually arrived safely back at the apartment. When he did, he was greeted by Volodomir’s daughter who looked like she was in a bad mood.

“What happened to you?” Katya questioned. “I’ve been calling you for twenty minutes.”

“Oh, sorry,” Jesus Josephovich replied. “I couldn’t answer my cell phone. I gave it to some men I met in the alley.”

Katya couldn’t believe her ears. “You did what?”

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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 21 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 21

Ch 21. The Boss

After a memorable cab ride, Jesus Josephovich headed into a fancy restaurant where he was supposed to meet Volodomir and his boss for dinner. Volodomir was waiting for him by the door, and to Jesus Josephovich’s surprise, there was an attractive middle-aged woman standing next to him in a modern two-piece pants suit.

“Jesus Josephovich,” Volodomir greeted his friend with a handshake and a hug. “This is my boss, Irina Alexandrovna.”

They shook hands politely and entered the restaurant. Jesus Josephovich thought it was quite interesting that Volodomir’s boss was a woman. He imagined that it would be very nice to have a calm, patient female superior.

As they sat down at the table, Jesus Josephovich’s ideal vision of a motherly manager was quickly shattered when Irina Alexandrovna began shouting out orders to the hostess who, as she so tactfully expressed, had seated them at the worst table in the house. He suddenly understood why she was the boss of the company.

“How can we enjoy our meal here?” she ridiculed. “Find us a good table.”

The terrified hostess ran off and handed them off to another waiter, a young woman who patiently sat them down at a private table in the corner of the restaurant.

“The service at these places is always intolerable,” Irina stated spitefully, and loud enough that the waitress could hear her. “They hire these ignorant children who haven’t even finished their university courses yet. They should be working at McDonald’s, not a four star restaurant.”

Volodomir tried to smile, but said nothing. Jesus Josephovich watched the severe businesswoman as she sat down and glanced at the menu. Before he even had time to pick his menu up, Irina had already placed her menu back on the table and declared that she would order for all of them.

“I know the best things to order,” she assured them. “If you order something else, you’ll probably be disappointed. The chef here isn’t very creative. Few Ukrainian chefs are.”

Volodomir put his menu back on the table, but Jesus Josephovich continued flipping through it just to see what was there. He wasn’t sure what Irina was complaining about. All of the food looked good to him.

“So Volodomir has told me a lot about you,” Irina said straightforwardly, when she saw that the foreigner hadn’t put the menu down yet. “How long are you going to be in Ukraine?”

“As long as it takes,” Jesus Josephovich answered. “What is Chicken Kiev?” he asked, perusing the dinner specials.

“You don’t want that,” Irina said firmly. “So you’re here in Kiev indefinitely? Would you consider staying forever?”

“Forever is a long time,” Jesus Josephovich said, as if he had experienced it before. “But I’m actually planning on going home when I finish my work here.”

“Unless we change your mind,” she said, fully confident that she could change his mind at a moments notice if she wanted to. “What do you think of Kiev so far?”

“I’m enjoying it,” Jesus Josephovich said. “The people are great and so is the food.” He held up the menu with a smile.

Irina sat up tall in her seat and shook her head. “People here are stupid,” she said. “Stupid and petty and corrupt.”

Volodomir was embarrassed and cleared his throat, shuffling the menu in his hands. Jesus Josephovich continued to study the uptight businesswoman.

The waitress returned and Irina quickly ordered for all three of them, including drinks and appetizers, in a voice that sounded like it was commanding an army. After giving her orders, she returned to her former line of thinking.

“Yes, the people in Ukraine are stupid,” she continued. “These people don’t know how the real world works. They steal from each other like ignorant children, and they think that the government is going to solve all of their problems. They are lazy fools,” Irina said callously.

“You might be judging them a little bit harshly,” Volodomir argued.

“I judge them no harder than I judge myself,” she declared. “If I did the things that I see my countrymen doing every day, I would be ashamed of myself as well.”

Volodomir stifled a grin. He found it hard to believe that Irina Alexandrovna had ever felt ashamed of herself for anything. He tried to change the subject. “How was your time with Andrey Bogdanovich?” he asked Jesus Josephovich.

“Very interesting,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Religion never ceases to amaze me.”

After more general conversation about the day and Irina’s pessimistic perspective on the general state of the country, the waitress delivered their food and left their table as quickly as possible before the businesswoman could complain about anything else.

At the end of the meal, however, as the waitress was clearing their plates off the table, Irina began commenting to her about everything that could have been better. The food wasn’t hot enough, the vegetables didn’t taste fresh, the meat was overcooked, and the soup didn’t have enough flavor.

“And what’s the matter with you?” Irina Alexandrovna questioned the discouraged waitress. “You look so depressed that I can’t enjoy my food. You could at least pretend to be happy to serve the people who pay your salary.”

The waitress’ eyes began to water and Volodomir quickly asked for the check to give her an excuse to leave. The waitress stomped away bitterly.

“Was that necessary?” Volodomir asked.

“Of course it was,” Irina answered. “If no one tells them the truth, then they’ll never improve.”

“The truth,” Jesus Josephovich echoed. “It is so rare to find these days.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Irina said. “What we need are more people who are willing to speak their minds.”

“What we need is God’s perspective,” Jesus Josephovich said.

Irina nodded her head vigorously, assuming that God’s perspective agreed precisely with her own. “You know, people have made such a mess of things, sometimes I think that it would be better if God just destroyed them all and started over.”

Jesus Josephovich looked into her eyes. “Do you know how God judges?”

“With fire and suffering,” she said passionately. “That’s how God will judge this degenerate world. And rightfully so.”

“God doesn’t judge people the way you think he does,” Jesus Josephovich stated.

“Then how does he judge us?” she asked. “According to what rules?”

“God does not want to judge us like the courts judge us, showing us where we have broken the law. He is not a lawyer,” Jesus said.

“I’ve heard there aren’t many lawyers in heaven,” Volodomir joked.

“There are some,” Jesus Josephovich joked. “But they usually work pro bono.”

“Then how will he judge me?” Irina asked, interested to see if the foreigner’s answer would match her own feelings on the matter.

Jesus Josephovich sat back in his chair and silently stared at her.

“How will he judge me?” she repeated.

Suddenly a familiar voice echoed in Irina’s mind. “That was a stupid question,” the voice said. “You already asked it.”

Irina was shocked. She looked around, but no one was there.

“And sit up straight,” the voice said. “You look like a country peasant.”

Irina was angry now. She looked everywhere for the source of the voice, even under the table, but there was no one to be found. Volodomir looked at her like she was crazy. The voice continued speaking, saying rude, judgmental things, and she was about to scream for silence when she recognized whose voice it was.

The voice made a comment about work, and Irina realized that she was hearing her own voice and her own comments that she had made about others. But these comments were aimed back at her, and each time she heard the voice, she remembered a time in the past when she had been guilty of such a fault.

The voice took her through her childhood, when she had selfishly hidden her friend’s toys, and through puberty, when she had lied to her parents. It took her through University when she had cheated on an exam, and through her early working years when she had ignored her friends and family so she could succeed at work. It took her through all the times she had insulted someone else, or made a jealous comment about another woman, and her mind showed her when she had been guilty of the exact same faults of which she had accused others.

Then the voice began talking about today. It made a comment about everything she had done, the way she looked, the way she walked, the way she spoke; all the comments that she had made about other people were now being made about her. Finally her words to the waitress came back to her, and she saw her own melancholy face in the mirror as the voice spoke: “You could at least pretend to be happy.”

Irina broke into tears and cried like a little girl. Everyone in the restaurant was stunned into silence. Volodomir looked at Jesus Josephovich with wide eyes, but didn’t dare say a thing. Jesus simply reached out and tenderly touched Irina’s hands.

The waitress came over with the check and asked if everything was okay. Irina grabbed her hands and knelt on the floor with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m so sorry. I’m sure you’ve had a long day and you’ve had to deal with terrible people like me and you have a tiring job and nobody is grateful for what you do and I didn’t mean to say those things to you. I’m so sorry.”

The waitress began to cry too. She forgave Irina and the two women held one another in each other’s arms and wept softly as the patrons looked on in shock.

After the spectacle was over, the trio paid for their meal and left the restaurant in a dream-like state. As Irina walked outside, she felt as if her soul had been washed clean. She was drying her tears with the edges of her sleeves when she stopped suddenly and ran back inside the restaurant as if the place had been on fire.

“What happened?” Volodomir shouted inexplicably.

Irina replied without looking back. “We forgot to leave a tip.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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