Becoming Paul (and The Good Samaritan)

Most everyone is familiar with the New Testament story of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, and his conversion to Paul, who would become the greatest evangelist of Christianity in the ancient world. Thousands of treatises and studies and sermons have been written over the years about the Apostle Paul, his life, his ministry, and his impact on Christianity. This is not one of them.

Perhaps the best known of all of the parables of Jesus from the Gospels is the story of the Good Samaritan. In it, Jesus tells the story of a man, robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. The story challenges those who believed they followed the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” by putting the definition of “your neighbor” into question. Thousands of treatises and studies and sermons have been written over the years about the Good Samaritan and the meaning of Jesus’s message through his parable. This is not one of them.

Instead this is a story of a good neighbor named Paul, a story which easily could have been titled No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. Continue reading

For My Son

This whole winter, I’ve been tanning. I know the possible health risks, and the way tanning could prematurely age my skin. My skin does take to UV amazingly well, though, with it’s slight olive tone. After all, my name is Jacinto Hernandez, so should all else fail, making a living picking onions out in the fields should at least be an option for me. Normally, I don’t care about keeping my skin bronzed when it’s cold, but this year was different. No, I did not make a resolution to be more vain. In fact, I didn’t do it for me at all. Why did I do it?

For my son.

Sing it, girl!

Sing it, girl!

If that sounds weird to you, it should. How can one tan for a child, exactly? Well, there’s a boy I know. Sorry, every time I think those words, I hear Whitney Houston from the crazy hair extension days in the mid-80′s sing in my head.

There’s a boy I know. He’s the one I dream of. Uh-huh.

Okay, back to my story. There’s a boy. And for almost nine months, we’ve been trying to adopt him. And now, it’s finally happened. Let’s just say he’s somewhat darker that we are. Like cinnamon. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not like a horde of pale Norsemen, or pasty freckled redheads. We all come from 50% Latin stock. But we’re not… like cinnamon. However, I can be, or very close to it with just a little consistent UV. So, in the hopes that he might feel a tiny bit less like an outsider when he joined our family, I’ve been standing in a tanning booth once a week. Continue reading