Your quality known among your enemies

It’s a powerful scene in the movie Kingdom of Heaven, in which newly-minted Christian knight Balian (Orlando Bloom) releases into freedom ‘Saracen’ knight Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani…on account of his quality.

Balian had fought and defeated what he thought was Imad’s master, over a horse found on the master’s desert plot. Balian ordered Imad to take him to Jerusalem, but then released him and gifted him the horse.

“Your quality will be known among your enemies, before ever you meet them,” Imad says, before riding off.

He recognized the goodness (or at least capacity for mercy?) in Balian.

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Back to Reality

I saw a guy experiencing homelessness this morning, and I have seen him before. 

Often he has a shopping cart with 4 or 5 suitcases on it.  He dresses in brown, or maybe his suit jacket is just covered with the product of months or years of street life. 

There were no suit cases this morning. 

The man sat against the base of a concrete box in the train station, rocking with his hands between his thighs for warmth.

My cheeks were pierced with cold, so his must’ve been numb–his beard looked thin and disheveled, not helpful. 

His rocking was sad; his posture like a vertical fetal position wishing for the comfort of the womb. 

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New Year, Some Old Problems

True that

The festive holiday season had clearly arrived, along with the commercials for payday loans or video games, there were more homeless men and women seeming to flood vacant street corners with sometimes curious signs.

Phoenix is an anomaly because of its climate. 

A warm summer prevents homeless residents from panhandling during the day. It’s just too hot, and every year people literally die from the 115 degree highs. 

But during the holiday season homelessness is more evident, though the legitimacy of those in need is not always clear.

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