I was at Woodland Park with Bryan and his friend. They were skateboarding, and I was reading on my blanket. It really was the perfect evening to lay out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather. I was perfectly content all by myself on my blanket when he walked up.
He smelled. Really bad.
He was a little drunk, I am quite sure.
He was strange, talking to himself at times, but friendly.
He was looking for conversation.
He told me his name as Dean Martin, then James Dean, then Charlie Brown. When he asked my name, I said "Farrah Fawcett", to which he responded "touche'".
We talked about the weather, where he was from (Michigan) and how he got to KY. He asked me to watch his "house" (backpack) while he went to "show those kids how to throw a frisbee the right way". He schooled them, for sure! He told me that his parents had died when he was a child, and his grandparents raised him. He ran away "as soon as possible so I didn't have to follow their rules". He had spoken to them a few weeks before, and they told him he could come home, but he said he didn't think he would. He said that his Grandma made him go to church if he lived with her, and I argued that maybe that was not a bad deal for three meals a day and a good warm bed to sleep in. He just shrugged his shoulders and laughed. Then he said "Life's tough, but faith gets ya through, you know?"
Yeah, I do know.
I asked him what or who he put his faith in, and he said "well, not Jesus, that's for sure", and he went on to ask if I was going to "get my preach on". I assured him I would not be preaching, but that he had mentioned faith, so I wondered what he had faith in. He asked me where I placed my faith, and I told him in Jesus Christ.
His response made me weep.
He said "I don't care for Jesus or Christians. You never get second chances from them. They judge you at every turn". He went on to tell me that he had been given more help from the "drunks, winos, prostitutes and homeless" than anyone who had ever professed to know Jesus. I apologized on behalf of all of us believers who have looked down on him because he was less fortunate. I told him I had done it too, and I was sorry. After all, the first thing I noticed was his smell, his sandals held together by duct tape, the smell of liquor on him, the dirty hands, face and feet. I hadn't looked at the person, but the outward appearance.
I was able to give him some money for a meal, since he had not eaten for several days (except for some peanut butter out of someone's trash). He asked me how I knew he wouldn't go get drunk with the money, and I told him I didn't; that was entirely up to him. But I was going to try to make him see that some who claim the name of Christ really do care, really do want to see the needs of the man he is, not just his circumstance.
I am not sure what God is doing with me these days.. leading me to homeless around me and giving me the chance to know them. But I am changed for the better because of it. Oh, that I never go back to being the person I was before I met Dean Martin/James Dean/Charlie Brown.