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Chapter 56 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Ch56 MegaMart

Ch 56. Mega Mart

After fighting through traffic that was causing problems for thousands of motorists for no real reason at all, the green Volkswagon finally pulled into a massive parking lot with hundreds of other cars all spread out before a giant glowing sign that read “MEGA”. Waves of patrons moved in and out of a row of doors beneath the sign like ants carrying their day’s plunder.

“What is that building?” the Jesus Josephovich wondered as he stared at the warehouse sized structure.

“That’s the store,” Abraham said.

“That’s one store?” the foreigner replied.

“Yep,”Abraham answered.

“What do they sell there?”

“Just food,” Abraham replied.

“They only sell food? It is larger than most temples,” Jesus Josephovich noted.

“And it probably gets more visitors than most temples,” Abraham joked. “It certainly makes more money.”

They parked the car near the rear of the parking lot and had to walk half the length of a football field to reach the entrance. They joined a swarm of people pushing and shoving their way through the narrow set of double doors that flung open and shut with the wind.

Inside the building Jesus Josephovich paused in awe as he took in the size of the structure. The ceiling towered above them like a steel sky and the aisles appeared at first glance to extend forever.

As large as it was, the aisles were completely packed with shoppers. Many of them pushed carts in front of them that were the size of a small car, yet they still managed to load them with so much food that their items formed a mound that threatened to topple over the edges of the oversized baskets.

“What do people need so much food for?” Jesus Josephovich wondered as an older woman passed them pushing a particularly overloaded cart.

“I guess they like to stock up,” Abraham considered. “Or maybe they’re having a party.”

“You could feed five thousand people with less food,” Jesus noted as a cart filled with fresh bread and fish fillets squeaked by.

“Or my whole village in Africa,” Abraham added. “You should see the parties we have in Nigeria. Hundreds of people show up, and that’s just family.”

Abraham grabbed a giant shopping cart and headed down one of the large aisles that were filled with food products 15 feet high. They began grabbing large boxes of food off the shelves as Abraham directed. Jesus Josephovich was amazed at the size of the containers. Each box appeared to contain several items. Apparently it was not enough to just buy what you needed. You had to buy ten of everything.

The strange foods that he saw lining the aisles amazed the foreigner. Almost all of them seemed to be unnatural. Boxes and bags of chips and snacks or candies covered in plastic. The people who made these foods must have been more interested in covering the outside of their packages with beautiful designs, than with putting anything of actual value inside the containers.

They made their way aisle by aisle, piling the food higher and higher in their cart as they went down the list of things that Elena needed to make her big meal. The foreigner wondered if their cart would get piled as high as the others around them.

As they reached the end of the last aisle, Abraham heard a shout and stopped.

“Abraham!” A voice behind them called.

“Taiyewo!” he answered.

A young African man with a small beard hugged Abraham as the native shoppers walking past them observed the pair with interest.

“Let me introduce you to a friend of mine. This is Tai-ye-wo,” Abraham said with emphasis.

“Nice to meet you.” Jesus Josephovich hugged the young man, which brought even more odd looks from the surrounding shoppers.

“His name means ‘The First to Taste the World’,” Abraham said with a laugh.

“Haha, yes,” Taiyewo replied. “I am a twin,” he confessed. “In my tribe when a family has twins, they name the first child this. It is a tradition because there are many twins in our tribe.”

“More than in any other tribe in Africa,” Abraham added. “They like to have two of everything,” he joked.

“Haha, that’s right. One is not enough,” Taiyewo admitted. “We are ambitious people. We want it all.”

“Well, you should be able to find everything you need in this place,” Jesus Josephovich said glancing at the cavernous ceiling.

“Exactly,” Taiyewo said. “This is what I want. I want my life to be Mega. Bigger than life.”

“What are you looking for?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

Taiyewo showed them his basket. It will filled with chemicals and dyes. “You know, I am buying things to make some new designs. I am an artist.”

“Are these for your t-shirts?” Abraham wondered.

“Some of them, yes,” said Taiyewo. “I want to mark each of my creations with a special stamp. Something that people can only get from me. There are so many Nigerians selling clothes in the street markets that I want mine to be unique.”

“Taiyewo is an excellent artist,” Abraham said. “But of course, like all good artists at one point in their lives, he has no money. So now he sells t-shirts.”

“Yeah, but not like these other guys. Most people just buy a bunch of clothes from China and sell them on the street. Not me,” said Taiyewo. “I use my clothes as creative inspiration.”

“Truth cannot be hidden,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Your creativity is a part of your true being. It cannot be silent for long.”

“You’re exactly right man!” Taiyewo said enthusiastically. “If I didn’t let my creativity out, I would go crazy. I just wish I had more money so I could be more creative. I’ve got so much in here that wants to get out,” he said pointing to his head, “but I just don’t have the time and money to be as creative as I want to be.”

“Be careful not to confuse financial success with artistic success,” Jesus Josephovich advised. “Many people think that they have not fulfilled their purpose in life if they have not made a lot of money, and they miss the blessings that God has given them. God is the ultimate creative being. It is possible that he created you simply to create one t-shirt.”

Taiyewo laughed. “That would be great, eh? I design the perfect t-shirt and then my life’s purpose has been fulfilled. But I don’t just want to create these things for myself. I want the whole world to see my creations.”

“Why?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “Why is it necessary to be big?”

“Because if you’re big, it means you did something right,” Taiyewo answered. “It means you really are a good artist.”

“Are you sure about that?” Jesus Josephovich questioned.

Abraham and Taiyewo looked at each other. “I think so,” Taiyewo argued. “If you are successful, then your art connects with a lot of people.”

“But does that mean that what you created is of the highest quality?” Jesus Josephovich inquired. “Look around you. Look at the products in this store. This place is enormous and it has everything that you could ever need in it. But is this what you really want in your life?”

“What do you mean?” Taiyewo asked.

Jesus Josephovich grabbed a box of fruity candy off the shelf next to him. “Look at this food. Man has spent an enormous amount of time and money trying to create something that tastes sweet. But nature grows fruit out of the ground that is sweeter and healthier than this without any input from man. The simplest farmer can grow things that are better than all of this.”

“You’re probably right,” Taiyewo admitted. “I try not to eat those processed foods anyways.”

“Good, but that’s not the point,” Jesus Josephovich said. “The point is that nature’s creation provides the farmer with everything that he needs. It fulfills him. And if he has extra, he gives it to his neighbors and fulfills them as well. In this way, everyone’s needs are met. No one is hungry. Nature is abundant.”

“Ok,” Taiyewo replied. “But I can’t eat my art. I need to sell it. I need money.”

“You don’t need money,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Money is simply a form of energy. There are many other forms as well. What you need is a source of abundance.”

“Abundance. Isn’t that money?” Taiyewo asked.

“Those who seek only money never find abundance,” Jesus said. “When you create, you are creating out of abundance. But it does not come out of the abundance that your physical being has accumulated in this life. No, that kind of wealth is merely temporary and has no creative force. When you create, you are drawing from the abundance of the creative spirit that gives life to all things, and this is an infinite and eternal abundance that can never diminish.”

“You know it’s interesting,” Taiyewo replied after a moment of consideration, “when I am creating something beautiful, I am not thinking,” he said. “It feels like I am channeling something greater. A power that is outside of myself. That’s why I became an artist. I didn’t want to lose that feeling of connection with something bigger.”

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “The nature of the entire universe is abundance. There is more pure energy in a handful of stones than in all the efforts you will make in your entire life. You must tap into that abundance, but in order to find it you must stop looking without. The true source of abundance is within.”

“What does that mean, it’s within me?” Taiyewo asked.

“That is the secret of who you really are,” Jesus Josephovich told him as he touched his shoulder. “You spirit is connected to God, the creative source of all things. Your spirit can channel the infinitely creative force in the universe. Your spirit is also connected to your fellow man. Let the creativity of God flow through you in all things. Not merely your shirts and art, but in everything you do, every minute aspect of life. Live every moment inspired. Then you will truly fulfill God’s purposes and you will yourself be filled to overflowing.”

Taiyewo was transfixed at the thought of infinite abundance flowing through him. The moment Jesus touched his shoulder he felt that familiar feeling of creative intensity that he always felt when he was making art. It began to flow through his mind and into his heart and suddenly it seemed to fill his whole being. Energy was flowing through every cell of his body and even beyond his body. An extraordinary amount of energy pulsed through him, and as he traced it back to its source within himself, he realized that it spread out from him like a web into the ground and sky and the air around him.

The energy was flowing in and out from all directions at once. He was at one moment the conduit through which the energy flowed and at another moment the source of the flow. It was a connection to everything in the universe and he understood for the first time that he was not alone and he had nothing to fear. There was a source of infinite power that he could draw from and of which he was an eternal part.

“Who is this guy?” Taiyewo asked Abraham, amazed by what he had just experienced.

Abraham laughed. “He is a man who makes every moment as full as possible.”

“I believe it,” Taiyewo replied. He pointed to the nearly full shopping basket. “It looks like he’s going to make a lot of people full for supper tonight.”

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “He who eats this food will be hungry again. He who consumes truth will be filled to overflowing.”

“I like that,” Taiyewo said. “Maybe I’ll put that on a t-shirt.”

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

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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 55 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Ch55 Turning

Ch 55. Turning

Elena was planning a big dinner that night, so she asked Jesus Jospehovich to help pick up groceries for the meal. Abraham, the medical student from Nigeria, was coming to eat with them and he was already on his way to pick up Jesus Josephovich.

Abraham pulled up in an old green Volkswagon, the brakes squeaking loudly as he stopped next to the curb.

“You have a car?” Jesus asked.

“No,” Abraham laughed. “My friend let me borrow it to run some errands. Elena wants us to pick up food at the Mega Mart on the other side of the city, but I swear, it’s faster to take the metro than drive a car in this crazy place. There is so much traffic.”

Jesus Josephovich entered the vehicle. Abraham stared at him, but didn’t move the car.

“Your seat belt,” Abraham said.

“My what?” the foreigner replied confused.

Abraham pulled his seat belt away from his chest to illustrate what it was and how to put it on.

“Oh,” Jesus said as he fiddled with the strap, trying to untangle it from the strap behind it. “No one’s ever asked me to use one of these before.”

“I know,” Abraham laughed. “People in this country don’t use those things. Sometimes they’re even insulted when I put it on, like they think I don’t trust their driving.”

“Do you trust their driving?”

“Never, man,” Abraham joked. “They are crazy. There are no rules.”

Abraham pulled the car out of the alleyway and into the crowded street where they immediately stopped fast in a long line of cars. The line stretched as far as Abraham could see.

He sighed angrily. “You see. There’s always traffic like this.”

They both watched with interest as an equally frustrated driver who had just reached the traffic jam began to drive backwards. The car flew the opposite direction up the street towards the oncoming traffic, apparently assuming that they would stop for him. The car finally reached a small street and turned down it away from the traffic.

“Hey, maybe that’s a shortcut,” Abraham thought.

He changed gears with a grinding screech and the little Volkswagon lurched backwards towards the oncoming cars.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Jesus wondered aloud as they drove the wrong way up the street.

“I’m in Ukraine. I should drive like a Ukrainian.” Abraham winked.

Cars weaved around them honking aggressively as their car made its way back to the small side street. They received a few angry looks, but to Jesus Josephovich’s surprise, many people began following their lead, hoping that they knew a shortcut. Car after car began driving backwards up the road, causing confused pedestrians to jump out of the crosswalk.

Abraham drove the car up and over the curb to avoid a car that had stopped just at the entrance to the side street. Jesus Josephovich’s head bounced off the top of the car as they crashed down off the curb. The gears grumbled once more as Abraham put the car into drive and sped off down the small alleyway.

They drove a few blocks down to the next intersection where they were forced to turn onto a larger street. They wound their way around over several hills until they came to the next main street, but their gamble had not paid off. There was a line of cars waiting to turn onto the main road, but traffic was so slow that none of them could turn. The cars on the main road made sure to follow inches behind the next car so that no one could merge in front of them.

Abraham slammed his steering wheel with his fist.

“This is even worse,” he shouted.

“What do you want to do?” Jesus Josephovich asked unassumingly.

“I know what I’m going to do,” Abraham said as he lurched the car backwards again and turned the car around. “I know one other way we can go,” he said. “Maybe we can avoid some of this.”

Abraham sped the little Volkswagon through a maze of twisting turns and back alleys, driving the wrong way up a few of them, until he ended up near another major road. He drove with a kind of reckless precision that left his passenger unsure of the practicality of their “short cut”.

As they approached the intersection, they could see cars moving by. It appeared not to be gridlocked.

“Alright!” Abraham declared enthusiastically as they turned the corner onto the main street. He glanced over at Jesus Josephovich with a big smile on his face and gave his foreign friend another proud wink. But as soon as he turned his head back to the road he slammed on the breaks and the Volkswagon came to a screeching halt.

More traffic.

“I can’t get away from it!” Abraham stated with frustration.

“That’s ok,” Jesus Josephovich said calmly. “There are some problems that can’t be fixed with action. Some problems require inaction.”

Abraham ruffled his brow and stared at his odd friend.

“Patience,” Jesus clarified. “Some problems can only be solved with patience.”

“By doing nothing?” Abraham expanded.

“Sometimes it is more difficult to do nothing, than to try to force a solution out of a problem,” Jesus continued. “But often that is exactly what is needed. Patience. Self control. Presence.”

Abraham rolled his eyes and sighed as the car moved forward a few feet and stopped again. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll be patient.”

Jesus looked intently at his friend. “Your wishes and desires are like doves. They can only fly if you let them go.”

The young man squinted his eyes, trying in vain to understand what the foreigner was telling him. He thought he understood for a moment, then lost his train of thought as the cars in front of him lurched forward. He exhaled fiercely as the cars once again came to a sudden halt.

Jesus Josephovich smiled pleasantly. “How have you been my friend?”

“Ok,” Abraham said. “School is good, but things are not getting better in this city. The crime is getting worse. Yesterday a friend of mine from Nigeria was punched on the metro. And two weeks ago a man’s wife was murdered in the park. She was African.” Abraham sighed a painful, hopeless sigh and looked straight ahead.

Jesus Josephovich glanced at the cars around them and noticed that many people were staring coldly at the black skinned driver. He looked at his friend’s hard face. “Are you afraid?”

Abraham nodded. “Of course I’m afraid. “It still isn’t safe for us to be alone or to go out at night. Just because we are black. I try to stick with friends and travel in groups, but the constant worry wears you down. I’m tired of being afraid. What can I do?”

“Do you want to change your skin color?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“No,” Abraham laughed.

“Then there is nothing you can do.”

“Maybe I should move,” Abraham said. “I’ve been thinking about it.”

“You can move,” Jesus agreed. “But then there will simply be new problems.”

“Maybe I will get a gun.” Abraham looked at his friend out of the corner of his eye.

“You want to kill them?” Jesus wondered. “The people who hate you?”

“If they try to kill me – yes,” Abraham admitted.

“Then what makes you different from them?” his passenger asked.

“What makes me different?” Abraham shouted. “What makes me different? Everything is different. They hate me for no reason. Because I am from another country. Because I look different from them. They are stupid, evil people.”

Jesus nodded and looked out of the window at the line of cars leading into the distance. “Do you hate them?”

Abraham thought about this for a moment. He knew not to answer too quickly when talking to Jesus Josephovich. “If someone tries to kill me, then yes, I would hate them.”

“Why?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“Why?” Abraham shouted again. “Because they want to kill me. They hate me.”

“You hate them because they hate you?” Jesus asked.

“Yes,” the student said, shrugging his shoulders and pulling the car a few feet closer.

“But you believe that your hatred is justified, because you hate them for a better reason than they hate you?” the foreigner questioned.

Abraham shook his head in confusion. “I don’t know. But I don’t feel like hating them would be wrong if they attacked me.”

“I understand,” Jesus Josephovich acknowledged. He looked back out the window at the traffic jam as several cars were trying to squeeze out of a lane that was ending. “What do you think caused the traffic jam?”

Abraham took a deep breath and looked out the side window. “I don’t know. It could be anything. Everything seems to cause a traffic jam in this place. And when there’s an accident, they don’t move the cars out of the way until the police get there. They just sit there blocking traffic for hours. It’s terrible.”

Jesus raised an eyebrow. “It’s interesting to think that this whole traffic jam might have been caused by a single car.”

Abraham snickered. “Ha, yeah. He probably doesn’t even know that he’s stopped up every road in Kiev. Some guy probably double parked to go buy some beer.”

The foreigner grinned. “Have you ever noticed that getting angry makes other people angry as well? Almost like it’s contagious.”

“Yeah, I’ve felt that before,” the driver admitted.

“And when someone hates you, you automatically hate them.”

“Yes. That’s how it seems,” Abraham agreed. “It’s not like I’m choosing to hate them. I just do it to protect myself.”

“Then it’s amazing to think that all of mankind’s hatred could have been caused by a single man hating another man,” Jesus suggested.

Abraham hit the breaks again and pondered what his companion had just said. It was almost too big an idea to fit in his head.

“Imagine,” Jesus Josephovich continued, “if a single man got so angry that he hated someone, and maybe he killed that person, and that anger and hatred got passed down to other people and it kept getting passed down again and again, making others angry and hateful, everyone hating someone for hating them, but not really knowing why or where it all came from.”

“That’s interesting, but how does that help me? I mean, what if these guys want to kill me?” Abraham wondered.

“You know the answer,” Jesus Josephovich said. “But I cannot tell you. You are not ready to hear it.”

“What do you mean I’m not ready?” Abraham exclaimed. “I listened to your crazy theory, and I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t understand what you think I should do. What do you do in a situation like that?”

The foreigner smiled and put his hand on Abraham’s shoulder. “You are not ready, but because you asked I will tell you.” He paused. “You want to know what you should do? Start with this idea: It is never right to kill another man for any reason.”

Abraham’s eyes opened wide and he slammed on the breaks again. “That’s crazy. I understand the idea, but it’s not possible.” He gripped the steering wheel tightly as a wave of emotion passed over him.

“I told you it would be difficult to believe.”

“It is. I don’t believe it. I don’t agree,” Abraham confessed. “I think there are times when you have to kill in order to survive, and to protect others, to protect your family.”

“Of course,” Jesus Josephovich agreed. “That is the belief, the feeling, the instinct that allows all animals on this earth to survive. It is the basis of conscious life. Survival.”

“Then how can it be wrong?”

“It’s not wrong,” Jesus Josephovich admitted. “Unless you are more than an animal.”

Abraham froze like a deer in headlights, his heart halting momentarily like the cars before him. That is how he had always thought that the racists treated him, like an animal. “But it doesn’t make sense,” Abraham argued.

“If you did not have a soul, if a part of you did not live on beyond this physical body, then you would be correct,” Jesus Josephovich agreed. “A lion must kill.”

“And if I believe I have a soul?” Abraham asked.

“Then you have reached the deepest of mysteries. The most difficult of all realizations.”

“That I can’t kill another being with a soul?”

Jesus shook his head kindly. “That killing another human being does not help you survive.”

Abraham considered this. “I don’t understand. I still think I should protect myself.”

“You can protect the body, but you cannot protect the soul by killing, “ the foreigner explained. “It may help your body survive, but not your soul.”

“Why?” Abraham wondered.

“This is the unexplainable mystery. You cannot see it. Few can feel it. Fewer can believe it.”

“Believe what?”

“That death is not a failure. Death is not the end,” Jesus said.

“What is death?” Abraham asked, not sure he wanted to hear the answer.

“It is a rebirth,” Jesus Josephovich claimed. “The caterpillar must give up its old self to become a new creation. Death is a necessary step for the growth and survival of the soul.”

“So I can’t kill others, but I need to die?” Abraham tried to comprehend. “Should I just kill myself then, if death is the next step?”

“No. Never,” Jesus answered. “To kill oneself is the darkest of deeds. It blinds you to all truths. Death gives birth to us all at the proper time. A baby born too early will not survive.”

“But how is killing myself different from letting someone else kill me?”

“Killing yourself consciously destroys your connection to all other things. Allowing someone to kill you, without resistance or complaint, connects you in the strongest way possible to the world around you,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “But these are deep truths. Who can understand them?”

“Not me,” the student admitted.

Abraham pondered these things in his heart. After a moment he found another loophole and shouted it out almost joyfully.

“But what about my family? What if I have children? I have to protect them. I don’t care if something bad happens to me or even to my soul, but I can’t let anything bad happen to my family,” Abraham declared selflessly.

“This is the second mystery, and for many the most difficult,” the foreigner replied. “You will never be separated from those you love.”

“That sounds great, but why is that difficult to believe?”

“It sounds simple, but consider the implications,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Think about how all of your decisions impact this circumstance. Understand that your actions are eternal.”

“What do you mean?” Abraham wondered. “They never go away? They can’t be changed?”

“The tiniest of stones will send a ripple across a lake. Your love, and lack of love, will echo through infinite time. Even beyond time, where it stands forever motionless.”

Abraham was amazed. He tried to fit this idea into his head, but it wouldn’t fit. He felt as if the whole universe were trying to pour itself into his mind, but it was overflowing right out the top and nothing was staying inside. He felt his whole being slipping away into nothingness – into something so much bigger than himself that it felt empty even though it was full in every way it is possible to be full.

“Are you beginning to see how important your life is here?” Jesus Josephovich asked him. “What you build here will never be broken.”

“My actions are eternal?” Abraham asked.

“Exactly,” Jesus said encouragingly. “Now do you think it’s possible that one man’s hatred could get passed down for generations? Can you see how that one action could have eternal repercussions?”

“I don’t know,” Abraham admitted, “but it seems possible. There are entire countries that hate each other for things that happened to their great great grandparents.”

Jesus nodded. “Indeed there are. So if that is possible, then do you also think it is possible that one man’s love could get passed down in the same way? That a single act of pure love could change the world?”

Abraham considered this. “I do,” he answered.

Jesus Josephovich smiled. “Then you must choose,” he said. “Will you choose to pass on the hatred of your fellow man, or love?”

Abraham swallowed nervously as the implications of such a love expanded before his consciousness. He slowed down his car and allowed the car to his right to merge in front of him. “I see,” he said, fully aware of the depth of his choice, but not ready to declare his answer.

The weathered car pushed through the traffic and past an intersection where two cars were blocking the right side of the road and causing the traffic jam. As they passed the two cars they noticed that there didn’t seem to be any major damage to either car.

“Hey look. It was just a small accident,” Abraham pointed out. “All that mess for nothing.”

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

 
Comments Off on Chapter 55 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

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Chapter 54 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Ch54 Prayer

Ch 54. Prayer

When Jesus Josephovich came out of the hacker’s apartment, the Oligarch was waiting for him in his private car listening to whatever noise passing for pop-music had been released on the radio that week. The driver opened the door for Jesus and he took a seat next to the intrigued Oligarch.

“So,” the Oligarch said. “What did you think of the capabilities of our friend?”

Jesus Josephovich smiled kindly. “Kolya is a wonderful young man. He is going to be of great benefit to his family and to the community.”

The Oligarch squinted his eyes in confusion. “I mean, what do you think of our offer. We can make you a Ukrainian citizen. We can make you Mayor of Kiev!” He spread his arms wide encompassing the entire back of the car. “Or we can turn you over to the authorities as an illegal immigrant with no identification. The choice is yours.”

The foreigner merely grinned. “Come to dinner with us tomorrow night, and I will tell you what I am going to do.”

The Oligarch smiled and directed the driver to take them back to Volodomir’s apartment. He assumed that the foreigner’s calm attitude was evidence that he had decided to join the Oligarch and his political machine.

Jesus Josephovich and the Oligarch parted ways with two very similar, yet very different things on their minds:

As he left the car Jesus Josephovich thought about all the good characteristics of his new friend and about how those positive things in his life, his tireless work ethic, business cunning, and substantial financial success, could help thousands of people around him if only he would get rid of the few blemishes in his character and ego that were holding him back from his real purpose in life. Jesus could honestly say that he loved him, especially when he considered his true potential.

The Oligarch also considered the many positive things about the strange foreigner he had met, but he could only think about how he could use this man’s popularity to his own benefit, regardless of what might happen to the foreigner or to the larger community. He loved the idea of controlling a powerful ally. He really loved the idea of being in control.

Jesus Josephovich headed upstairs to Volodomir’s apartment. He knocked on the heavy metal door and Volodomir’s wife Elena quickly opened it. She looked surprised to see Jesus Josephovich at the door, as if she had forgotten about their guest.

“Oh, hello,” she said, letting him through the door, then quickly shutting it behind her to keep too much cold air from coming in. Compared to the wintery cold outside, their apartment was a sauna.

“Are you alright?” Jesus Josephovich asked her, noticing her tenseness.

“Oh, I’m fine,” she answered instinctively. “Just a lot on my mind.”

“You know what helps me when I have a lot on my mind?” Jesus Josephovich asked. “Singing.”

She smiled meekly, and the foreigner began whistling a cheery tune.

Suddenly her face turned grim and she almost grabbed the thin foreigner by the arm. “What are you doing?” she yelled.

Jesus Josephovich paused and stared at Elena’s frantic face, which appeared to be twisted in pain. “You don’t like my song?”

“You’re whistling!” she announced, as if it were an act of pure evil. “You can’t whistle indoors! It’s a curse!” she explained.

“Oh yes,” he replied, remembering the Oligarch’s similar response. “That wealthy businessman told me the same thing.” The foreigner was amused that the wealthiest man in the country and a typical Ukrainian housewife would react the same way to the superstition about money.

“If you whistle indoors, your money will fly out the window,” Elena declared with complete gravity. The fear in her voice told Jesus Josephovich that this was more than just an old Slavic superstition. It was connected to something that she was worried about right now.

“Really?” Jesus said. “And why are you so worried about money? Do you think that God will not provide what you need?”

Elena sighed and sat down at the kitchen table. “Volodomir is not making as much money at his job as he hoped, and we just have so many things to think about. Sometimes I think God cares about us, but he doesn’t pay much attention to all the details happening in our lives.”

Jesus smiled at the wisdom hidden within her remark. “And why do you think that is?”

“I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head in defeat. “I pray to God every day, but sometimes I don’t think he’s listening. I’ve tried everything that the priests tell us to do. I always wear a shawl over my head and dress humbly when I go to church, I bow three times and make the sign of the cross at every door and every icon, I buy candles from the sisters and light them on each of the altars for Mary, John and…” she cleared her throat, “Jesus.” She grinned nervously. “ And I never miss a church service.”

The foreigner looked impressed. “Sounds like prayer is hard work.”

“It is!” she admitted. “If I can’t go to the church building I put on my shawl and kneel on the ground in front of our icon of Mary to pray.”

She pointed to a small gilded Orthodox painting of Mary holding her baby on the mantel. The style of painting was very old, and the images looked barely human, like a photograph that has aged so much it no longer resembles its original subject.

“I kiss the icon and kiss the cross around my neck,” she continued, “and I say the Lord’s prayer. Then I add specific requests, usually about Volodomir and the children.”

“And about money?” Jesus inquired.

“Yes,” she blushed. “I pray about money. I pray about it a lot.”

Elena lowered her head in shame at her admitted selfishness, then grabbed Jesus’ hands.

“You are a holy man. Teach me to pray!” she begged. “I know God will answer me if you teach me to pray.”

“When you were a child, did your parents give you everything that you asked for?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

“No,” she admitted. “But we were poor.”

“Could there have been any other reasons that your parents might not have given you something you asked for? Do you ever ignore your children’s requests?”

Elena took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes. Sometimes my children ask me for things that I know won’t be good for them. Like candy or when they want to play outside without a hat or gloves.”

“Maybe you were actually better off not getting some of the things you asked for as well,” the foreigner suggested.

“Well, maybe I didn’t really need all the things I wanted,” she conceded.

“You know everybody prays for money,” Jesus Josephovich said. “We all think that money is going to solve our problems, but rich people have more problems than anyone I know. I just spent time with an Oligarch, and I saw that he was a man who is never at peace. His only peace is pleasure, and pleasure lasts but an instant.”

Elena opened her eyes wide. It was difficult to imagine that millions of dollars wouldn’t bring some sense of peace to her life.

“What you’re really looking for is a sense of security,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “You hope that more money will give you that security.” He looked her straight in the eye. “It won’t,” he promised.

Elena sighed. “I know,” she said. “Somehow I’ve always known that money would not bring me peace. But I thought it would at least make the problems in life easier to deal with. I thought it might bring us a little more pleasure.”

“Money is not going to work,” her guest told her. “Pleasure simply creates a desire for more pleasure. It does not lead to peace. Security cannot come from a physical object outside of yourself. It can only come from something within.”

“What is that?” Elena asked.

“God,” he said simply.

“But how can God give me more peace?” she asked humbly.

“More prayer,” Jesus answered.

“But I told you, I pray every day and it doesn’t work!”

Jesus Josephovich nodded in agreement. “Why do you think that is the case?”

Elena raised her hands in frustration. “I don’t know. Maybe I don’t know how to pray correctly.”

“You know how to pray,” Jesus said. “But you are confused about when to pray.”

Elena stared at the foreigner for a long moment, trying to understand what he was saying. “Should we pray in the morning? Before we sleep? Should we pray before we eat anything, or just large meals? What about at celebrations? What am I missing?” she pleaded.

Jesus Josephovich put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “You think that when you say, “Father, Hallowed be your name”, that you are starting a prayer. You believe that you should end your prayers with the phrase “Amen”. And you imagine that the words between those phrases are the only things that God considers prayer.”

Elena paused to consider this. “What is prayer then?” she wondered.

“Prayer is talking to God,” Jesus Josephovich answered plainly. “It is when we bring our requests, concerns, and questions to our Heavenly Father. It is when God listens to us… and he is always listening.”

“Always?” she asked with trepidation.

“Always,” Jesus said with a knowing grin. “You believe, and often hope I’m sure, that the words you speak during times not designated as “prayer” are not being listened to by the Creator of the Universe.”

Elena nodded shyly in agreement.

“But I tell you this: every word you speak is prayer. Every thought is meditation. Every breath breathes the spirit of heaven. God hears all. God knows all. God is with you at every moment of every day. He hears your words, righteous and wicked. So beware your sinful words and thoughts. Be careful that you do not wish more wickedness into this world than you pray for good things. For the wickedness you wish upon others will come, and it will come into your own life.”

“Are you sure?” she questioned with fear in her voice. “He listens to everything we say? Even our thoughts?”

“Do you think you are so far from Heaven that God cannot hear you?” Jesus Josephovich walked over to the window and opened it, letting in the freezing winter air. He looked up into the massive gray clouds hovering over the city.

“God sees the same sky as you,” he said as he looked up into the clouds. “Only, when he looks at the sky it is filled with Angels.” He paused and smiled at the clouds as if greeting an old friend. “So it is with your sky, yet only those with eyes to see can see it.”

“I’m not sure I want to see that,” Elena confessed.

“You don’t need to see it,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Believing is enough. Just remember this: Every word is a prayer. Therefore, let your words be holy, for God is listening, and not only God, but every Angel in Heaven as well.”

Elena thought deeply about what the wild-haired foreigner had said. It challenged everything she had ever thought about the separation between her life and her religion. She slowly walked over to the window and looked up at the clouds. Not seeing any angels, she closed the window shut tight, double checking to make sure no cold air was coming through.

She walked back to the kitchen table and sat down silently. She stared at Jesus Josephovich as he analyzed her expression.

“Are you okay?” he asked once again.

Elena smiled. “Yes, I’m just being careful. If every word is a prayer, I don’t want to mess up!”

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

 
Comments Off on Chapter 54 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Posted by on October 1, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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