The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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Context: I interviewed Philly Jesus, the man who dresses as Jesus and hangs out in LOVE Park. He is there every weekday 2-9 pm. He went to prison in 2009 where he says he found God. After getting involved with prescription pills, he also got addicted to heroin. He is a year and a half clean.  He is 28 years old and lived in North Philadelphia for most of his life. He told me his name but wanted to keep it out of the postcard.

My ex-girlfriend ran me over with a mini-van. I mean, technically, it was my fault. I wouldn’t move from the hood of her van. She warned me that she would press her foot down on the gas. 

The woman, who I loved whole-heartedly, cheated on me with my little brother. I wasn’t mad, but I had that feeling where the emptiness in your chest is suffocating.

I felt my knee crush under the tires and my stomach was just a bump in the road. My entire body went numb and I was blinded by whiteness.

I woke up in the hospital; an entirely new kind of coldness was in my chest. Drip. Drip. Drip. I rolled my head to the other side and watched the clear liquid travel into my arm. My wincing stopped, the pain subsided and I was hit with a euphoric bliss.

“You’re blessed to be alive,” my doctor tells me.

Yeah…blessed. I always hated that word. It reminded me of going to catholic school my whole life. If there even is a God, where was he to stop my girlfriend from cheating on me? Where was he to stop me from trying drugs for the first time when I was twelve years old? There were a lot of questions I had for this “God” figure.

When I left the hospital, all I had were the pills they prescribed. I had a loaded gun in my hand and all I had to do was pull the trigger.

I became your typical abuser. It got to the point where the doctors caught onto my plan and cut me off, so then I started stealing money from my family to feed my addiction. I was a sinner who was going to sin until the end.

Credit card forgery had me placed in handcuffs and behind bars. There was no one. I was left to the utmost foundation of myself.

There was a bible study group. I can’t really explain what had me go, but there was this invisible presence that pushed me there.

My eyes were cleared of their foggy, distorted perceptions of the world. I always thought everything was bad in this world and that no one would ever be there for me.

God was there at my lowest point.

The kid who was kicked out of Catholic school for smoking weed finally found God. There was something so beautiful and life changing about someone dying for my sins.

73 days went by. I left prison and the only difference from before was the bible in my hand and a new mindset.

I wanted to thank God for saving me. I wanted to do something, anything really, to repay him for helping me find a beacon of hope.

I lived in Philadelphia my whole life and it always needed a beacon. LOVE Park is the one place I always saw pure joy and youth. High school students always used the meticulously placed park as a gateway.

 I became Philly Jesus to save the city from desolation, because who is there to go to when everyone else has left? It’s always God.

How Philly Jesus Found God

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2009
Philadelphia, PA.

Context: I interviewed Philly Jesus, the man who dresses as Jesus and hangs out in LOVE Park. He is there every weekday 2-9 pm. He went to prison in 2009 where he says he found God. After getting involved with prescription pills, he also got addicted to heroin. He is a year and a half clean. He is 28 years old and lived in North Philadelphia for most of his life. He told me his name but wanted to keep it out of the postcard.

Recorded by Emily Scott on December 3, 2014
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