Friday, May 30, 2008

Today a homeless guy told me he loved me

I hadn't seen Scott (not his real name) in a while. When I ran into him today he gave me a sweaty handshake and a smile. He was obviously not doing as well now as when I last saw him several months ago. At that time he was sober, hopeful and holding down a steady job. Today he was evasive when I asked how he'd been and didn't seem quite himself. The look in the eye, the manner of speaking was different than I remembered. I didn't pry, but then he blurted out something about the devil being the cause of his recent problems (whatever they were). I don't recall my exact response, but whatever it was prompted him to ask me to pray for him. I assured him I would and told him that Jesus had overcome the devil and that his (the devil's) time was short and he couldn't harm us in the end if we were in Christ. That's when Scott fixed his eyes on mine and said "I love you" with absolute sincerity. Rather taken aback, I told Scott I loved him too. He went on to tell me that his brother in New York had sent him an airline ticket and sometime next week he'd be going up there, but that he'd be coming back to West Palm because this is "home".

It dawned on me later I couldn't remember the last time someone other than my wife or an immediate family member told me they loved me. Perhaps I needed that unexpected encounter more than he did. I hope to see Scott again so I can tell him I've indeed been praying for him and share some more words about Jesus. My heart breaks for him and many others like him. Is there anything sadder than a man at the midpoint of his life who's lost everything, with a past full of brokenness and little hope for the future? Was it decisions or circumstances that brought him to this point? Or both? I don't know, but I do know I'd give about anything to see him restored as a flourishing member of society, but more than that a flourishing citizen of the Kingdom of God and recipient of the staggering promises of the Gospel. That is my prayer for Scott.


redeyespy said...

"Scott" is now in my prayers as well. I believe your encounter will linger in both parties' hearts and minds for some time. Amen.

jessica said...

wonderful story. thanks for sharing.

tim said...

great post!
I find "Scotts" concept of "home" thought provoking...perhaps we all should "discard" our structures and learn what "home" is about. "I love you" (in word and deed) might be more common among neighbors, townspeople and the guys under the bridge if we understood "home" and our responsibilities/opportunities therein.