One of Us

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home?

-Eric Bazilian (But sung by Joan Osborne)
Music video is kind of creepy–er outdated, but hey, play it in another tab and read this instead of watching it.

I was mulling over a conversation with my mother the other day, when this song came up on a Spotify generated playlist. I liked the melody, so I sought it out and played it a couple more times, before the meaning of the words actually sunk in.

See, when I pray, I’m praying to a great heavenly Father or to a majestic God on his all-powerful cosmic throne. I’d like to think that if God were “one of us”, I’d be able to recognize him right away due to his sheer presence. And if I were to meet him, well, I would most definitely be on my best behavior. If God wanted to borrow a dollar, I’d give him a twenty and tell him not to worry about it.

Yet, what if I couldn’t recognize him? What if God was that man I pretended not to see huddled on that street corner? What if God was the person sleeping under the makeshift igloo on that muddy Cambridge curb? Would God have watched me with sad eyes as I briskly walked by to attend to something more important?

In the conversation with my mom, I mentioned how sad it was that we could get so disillusioned about giving. Whenever I drop a dollar into someone’s cup, there’s a niggling thought in the back of my head that I’m being tricked. Or if I do a nice thing, there’s an unspoken expectation for something nice to be returned. To not expect a windfall for a kind deed seems almost foolish, because it just implies naiveté–a personality waiting to be exploited.

But I don’t want to believe that.

God has given me so much already. I’ve found my confidence in college, and I have plenty of opportunities. I lack nothing, have friends, family, and good health. It only seems right to give back. To be kind, give freely, shouldn’t be hard since I’m sitting on a veritable mountain of blessings. Herein lies the problem: Though I can easily give without worrying about what I have left, I still clutch to the things I have with some jealous passion.

Despite the trickery and the evil out in the world, there are people whom I can help, either through money or through action. And if God were to truly be a person on the street, I want to make him proud when he sees me. So I’ll give.



  1. Hemanth K

    Wonderful thoughts and decisions. When there is a doubt of being cheated then do not give… If it were the God, then you have a reason to justify. If really God asks the only reason which might keep you from giving is your greed.

    • Sophie

      Thank you! It’s still a question I struggle with a lot, but I suppose that’s also part of spiritual growth.

      • Hemanth K

        Yeah true. Struggles like those are certainly a part spiritual growth. I am very much like you. I found many answers from Bhagavad Gita As it is and I enjoy the book Krsna – The Supreme Personality of Godhead. I feel these books are beyond religion and sectarianism. My prayers are with you and I hope you could make some space for those books in your calendar and see mysteries unravel 🙂

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