Monday, May 07, 2007

"The likes of me..."

John Murray has been my friend now for about a month. I can call him that because we are gaining all the necessary ingrediants for such a relationship. We are becoming familiar with one another. I know more about him than I did last month and he knows more about me. I know he likes steak and hates soup. Early in the day he likes his coffee black, but later he often prefers cream and sugar. He's never been married, though he's met several women worthy. He has no children and smokes Pall Mall Light cigarettes. "Caffeine and Nicotine" are what gets him by, he says. He takes off and puts on a jacket in a unique way because of a shoulder injury from falling out of his wheelchair. The police are good to him. He trusts me to do his laundry and to see where he keeps the money he's collected. Pancakes on a Sunday morning make him very happy and he'll use all the butter "thank you very much!" He's ingenious in preserving a plate when a meal requires glass rather than paper. He knows exactly where it can be hidden and stored for easy pick up later and doesn't forget to remind me to get it. He says he's a "God fearing man", though he believes no church wants anything to do with "the likes of me". He recognizes my voice and lifts his head when I call to him. He knows to expect something more than a visit most of the time and it is probably homemade. He knows I can surprise him and show up anywhere, even find him when he's saved enough for a night at Motel 6. He knows I won't buy him cigarettes, but I will listen to him talk. I know rubbing cream on his diseased foot doesn't make it better, but having someone touch it doesn't hurt it either. He is easily agitated and quickly calmed. He has an active imagination. To some it could be considered mental illness except that if it were me in his chair, homeless and alone, I would think such imaginings might preserve the mind and would certainly be preferable to reality. The adventures he recounts are extensive. I don't think I care whether he really did the things he's told me about. I think its quite fun to talk about "the boat he took to Vietnam to have coffee once". I am amazed right along with him, that when he played on the New York Jets football team in 1965 "when steel cleats were legal, that they only killed 10 guys that year." I don't care that the Jets roster we found on the internet didn't include his can't always trust the internet. I think it's courageous of him to want to "join the Mexican army" especially since he's in a wheelchair! But, I am afraid his mental confusion has created something between us that my words can't get through. I want him to know Jesus. I wanted him to come to church just to hear the music. I want to explain that God can make him a perfect and new body in heaven, but his imagination seems to get in the way. What I struggle with now, is what God is calling me to do with my new friend, John Murray. His need seems so great and yet he seems so content. I want his foot healed miraculously so that he can see God's glory. Perhaps God leaves his foot just the way it is so that John sees that glory in the many people who help him. Does he realize God sends people or does he think it is by chance? Maybe his disability is what saves his life and provides food and shelter for him. Some would say that God is using John Murray to teach me something. With all due respect, I want to give to John Murray not the other way around. So God, if you must choose, please choose him. I have so much already. This is a different kind of "light to my path." I really can only see clear to the next visit. That is all the vision God has given me. Shouldn't there be a goal, an aim, a purpose higher than small physical provisions and a little conversation. I had envisioned deep theological exchanges by now; heart to heart talks. So I guess God is teaching me to trust. To take one step at a time and trust him for the spiritual needs of my new friend. I guess with John Murray its another example of follow the leader. I just wish that he knew Him too. I would love to believe that when I get out of the car and call out his name, that God whispers in his ear..."Here she comes, John, one of the ones I've sent to help. I love you John Murray and that is why I send them. She'd never do it on her own, but if I keep after her, she will keep coming. She's not the first one I sent on your behalf. My son was first. She knows Him and one of these days she'll tell you all about Him. In the meantime, trust me John Murray because I love you."


Anonymous said...

You amaze me and are such an encouragement to me. It's nice to know God has a plan even when we don't have any idea what it is. I think it's so we don't try to control things. Just be a part of the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this part of your life. You're a great writer. I'm touched by your friendship with John.

Only one complaint!!! You don't write often enough!

More please!

photolady said...

Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus says,
"Then the King will say to those on His right hand,
'Come, you blessed of My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
'for I was hungry and you gave Me food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
'I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you visited Me;
I was in prison and you came to Me.'
"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying,
'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You,
or thirsty and give You drink?
'When did we see You a stranger and take You in,
or naked and clothe You?
'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'
"And the King will answer and say to them,
'Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren,
you did it to Me.'"