Hi Michael. Twice in the last couple of weeks you have appeared strongly in my thoughts. I'm part of a small group who meet weekly to pray and read the bible together. A few days ago we were looking at Acts 6-8. I hadn't previously appreciated the significance of Stephen being able to fall asleep whilst being stoned. Wow.. how could he be so at peace that sleep was possible when he was in so much physical pain? How could his dying thoughts be on the salvation of the men who were killing him? In spite of the ugly circumstances Stephen was able to pray and be connected with God and to be at peace - through the power of the Holy Spirit. That was the second instance where I thought of you. The first instance happened the previous weekend. My whole family of five had been to the bike shop (two of my sons needed new helmets for their growing noggins). On the way in I had noticed an old guy with a huge stoop nearby. He had a dressing on his forehead and I wondered if he had been wanting to go to the nearby medical centre (which had closed early because ot was Saturday). After we left the bike shop I noticed he was sitting on a footpath bench looking dejected. I asked him if he wanted a hand with anything. He asked if I could help him get to the train station. The station was only about 400m away (I'll let you translate that into feet). I suggested driving him somewhere but he said "no". At the time I assumed he wanted to hang out on the train because it was a reasonably warm, comfortable, safe place and he had no plans for the afternoon/evening. My husband went home with the boys. It was so sad. His name was Clyde. He had so much dignity. He was so frail. I took him the long way around to the station to avoid the steep stairs - which added an extra 100m to the distance. He needed three rests to get there and it took nearly 1 1/2 hours. He was pushing himself so hard. I inquired if he wanted me to call anyone. There was no one. We went past a number of shops including a bakery. He wanted nothing - except help getting to the station. There were a lot of people around. He was invisible to the masses. In part probably because most of them were Asian and Indian where as he was an old white man. (People are more likely to help their "own kind".) I felt so disempowered and angry with my society. He was heading into the city. He didn't want to talk. I'm assuming he was homeless and heading to a food van. I hoped they could help him at least for that night. He knew that I had to go back to my kids once I got him to the station. He probably had a bit of alcohol induced brain damage. I assumed whoever put the dressing on his head had also cleaned him up. In spite of looking clean he had the homeless smell. He was wearing sandles that were a size too small. His feet were very swollen. His stoop was huge. He was probably a lot younger than he looked. I felt so sad for him and his situation. My help was so tokenistic. I don't know if there was anything else I could do. I helped him onto a city train and asked a young, idealistic, clueless guy to help me get him on the train. I hoped this young guy would help him at the other end. After I left him I cried. And I also thought of you. When I got home I had a shower and washed his smell off me. I have a shortage of people in my life to tell this story to. I think you will understand the mixed emotions this generated in me. I wish my wider community would care more for people like Clyde. Life can be so unfair. I got a new fitbit about it 6 weeks ago that measures heart rate. It seems ironic that since having it my heart has beaten it's fastest when I was with Clyde.I am very well. It is so good being stable. It is good being in a position where I can make plans for my future. My goal now is to not procrastinate too much and to not become too busy doing unimportant stuff (my favourite way to procrastinate).Kind regardsKatp
Another irony... a cafe near the last bench Clyde rested at was playing the alternative version of Sound of Silence I posted to you earlier on.K
How our world would change if each of us helped one person each day!
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