Thursday, November 20, 2014
Good morning! How are you today? I am a little off schedule, and I hesitate to tell you why. After thinking about it for a while, I am going to tell you what happened, probably more as a cathartic move for me than anything else. Forgive me if this is inappropriate.
The last few nights I have not slept super well. I think it's easy to understand why. I am not training hard, and I am not eating super well. My body does not know what to do with either one, I think. That's fine. I will fix both really soon.
Last night I went to bed and was sleeping but not sleeping great. About 1:30 I heard it about the time Kedra spoke about it, "Your phone is ringing." Of course a phone ringing interrupting sleep is always disturbing. I cannot see without my reading glasses, so I answered blindly, hoping it was not one of my children. Thankfully, it was not any of them.
It was a guy I know very well, a guy who has had a very troubled past, a past that still haunts him. I became involved with him--striving to help--several months ago. He needed food and friendship. I've been trying to give him both, both are limited for all kinds of reasons. He has been in prison for some bad stuff and still struggles with addictions and depression.
I really like him. He has a gentle soul and kind demeanor. Over the last few months I have taken him places and taken him food, prayed with him, and tried to encourage him. He has no transportation and lives in the middle of nowhere in a nearby county. Often our trips turn into adventures as he asks me to go another place or two while out. I've learned to plan for it. Once a 30 minute trip turned into a two hour odyssey.
The call last night, actually early this morning, was a call for help. He was stranded in Mitchell and needed a ride home. I asked all the usual questions, trying to get out of getting out of bed. "Can't you stay where you are?" No. "Can't so and so take you home?" No. No. No. No. "OK, I will come and get you."
In the call, he named a person or two I know. They are people I have helped in the past. They have a very troubled past as well. As I pulled on my clothes and stumbled toward the garage, I wondered what I was walking into. I figured my friend was drunk and high. I knew the other folks were likely the same. While I trusted my friend would not be mean, I had some concern about the others.
Honestly I had the thought I could be walking into a set-up by some desperately addicted people who were going to take advantage of me. "Am I going to get shot/knocked out, so they can take my money and my car?" I'm almost ashamed to admit that, but it was there. I prayed it away, asking for protection. I developed a plan for avoiding a problem, but I did not have to employ it.
I pulled up the address my friend gave me. I knew exactly where he was and the kind of folks who live there. Wouldn't you know it? The streets lights around the place were all out. It was dark, very dark. I locked my doors and carefully pulled in front of the house, looking all around.
Mercifully, my friend was watching for me and came out of the place by himself. I unlocked the door and let him in. He thanked me and immediately confessed, "Allen I had a beer, actually 3, maybe 4-5." Then added he had been smoking weed as well. He summed it up, "I am stoned." He was very sorry and kept apologizing.
He told me it all started with a deer. He or someone killed a deer, and he wanted to share it with some others. The others are the ones who offered him the stuff he really does not need. He knows he needs to stay away, yet it is the pull we all feel, the pull to go places we should not go and do things we should not do. I am not much different than him. My vices are different and less noticeable, more acceptable, I suppose.
I took my friend home, about a 15 minute drive. He apologized over and over. I told him it was OK. When we got to his place, he wanted me to turn off the car and talk. I told him I would come over later today to talk. I prayed with him and was thankful he opened the door and got out of the car. I drove home, watching for deer. I was back in bed a little before 3 but did not sleep well after that.
There is whole different world out there, a world most of us do not know much about it. I see it quite often and have stepped into it from time to time. I see some of its citizens in our food pantry and at our "giveaways."
That world is easy to judge and condemn, yet I find a lot of faith there, perhaps more than in my world. Most of them don't go to church. They don't feel welcome. I had a lady last week, while she was getting some coats and food, say, "I don't have any good clothes to wear to church."
I think these are the people Jesus cared the most about, pretty sure about that. My problem is I don't know how to enter that world more deeply. All I know to do is to love it, not condemn it, and try to help the people who live there, which I think I do. I must admit is does not feel very satisfying. It seems like an exercise in futility, but I know it is what God wants.
This morning I've received a 4 part text from my friend. He thinks I am mad at him and will never do anything for him again. He is grieving a loss that is not going to occur but probably one he has lived a few times. I will go see him later on. It's all I know to do.
Posted by Allen at 11/20/2014 09:10:00 AM