The Blind Leading the Blind

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A Christian who occasionally visits our church popped up a few weeks ago; I’ll call her Lisa. She’s of Puerto Rican descent and asked after the family of another parishioner who’s also Hispanic. But we hadn’t seen Maria for several months, and her phone had been disconnected, so I wasn’t able to tell Lisa much.

Lisa attended again yesterday to tell us she’d visited Maria and had terrible news. Maria’s husband has recently gone blind, which we knew; what we didn’t know was that in trying to fix himself some lunch, he had badly burned his face. Praise God, his 12-year-old son was home and came to his rescue.

But the family lives in public housing and is in dire trouble financially. “I’m in social work [sic],” Lisa added, “and I want to know what the church can do for them.”

Now of course there is no “church,” just a group of about 15 or 20 people meeting to worship the Lord. And we’d all be able to contribute a heck of a lot more to Maria if the State hadn’t already robbed us on behalf of Lisa and her department.

I grew more amused at Lisa’s obliviousness the longer she talked. She’d already investigated the State’s programs for Maria: none could “help.” And she urged us to visit Maria though she warned that the public-housing project isn’t safe: “I wouldn’t go there after dark,” she cautioned.

She also continued pressing us about donating money to Maria, mentioning what everyone else she had approached was contributing – though her own name was notably missing from the list. Finally, it seems Mr. Maria’s recovery from his burns depends on an air-conditioner (yes, I know: it’s January and cold here in New York – but I didn’t ask. You don’t question crusaders). And it will cost at least $800. Why so much when Sears sells them for $300? Ah, because New York City’s Housing Authority requires poverty-stricken tenants to buy only certain kinds of (very expensive) air-conditioners. Lisa didn’t even bat an eye when she mentioned this heartless regulation.

Lisa had of course given Maria minute instructions on how to assist her husband since Maria is merely a dumb citizen while Lisa is a smart bureaucrat.

And blinder than Mr. Maria.

10:32 am on January 9, 2012