Arthur Ingram - RIP

It was always a joy to see him as you walked along the boardwalk toward 116th St in Rockaway Park. He was bright, alert, would recognize you and call your name. His address was forever changing. You suspected he didn't know whether there would be a next meal. Outwardly this didn't seem to bother him. If he asked for help, and he wasn't shy about asking, you still wondered whether he would get something to eat or just play the lottery.

Now he has gone back to God. It was a tragic death. What is amazing is the outpouring of love and grief that is arising from the people. Though ordinary, even unknown, unnoticed from an economic point of view, Arthur Ingram was extraordinary from a human relationship point of view.

So many people say now, "Yes, I knew him." "He was always neatly dressed." "I gave him some money." "He was so kind and polite." What is clear is that Arthur left a lasting impression on those who got to know him or meet him as a person.

He was an alumnus of St. John's. He must have been influenced by the tragic death of his brother, Stephen, years ago. I guess this is a lesson we can learn from Arthur's death. You never really know what is going on inside a person's heart. So we need to be very gentle with each other, in our thoughts, words, and actions. We really must learn what it means to respect a person. This means looking deeper than the external circumstances that surround a life. What is a person's life really revolving around? Most of the time we don't know this. All we can do is step back respectfully. And we can pray.

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