Gary is 38 years old. He was raised in a Roman Catholic home. He has been on the street since he was 15 and his mother emancipated him when he was 16. He came from New Orleans and he has “been all over the place.” He tried to commit suicide when he was 15 by shooting himself. It didn’t work. He said he has been having visions since he was four, had been in and out of psych wards for treatment of his visions. He became a pagan at the age of 17. He was learning runes and for whatever reason he had to relieve a high priest of his duties and he became an interim pagan high priest. He had been in charge of covens before the appointment. He would read tarot cards to make money for food and survival. He became tired of the pagan belief because he began to see that people were in it for the power trip, not for the covenant that they believe in. He quoted something to the effect do whatever you want, but do no harm to anyone. In California, he was under the Golden Gate Bridge and someone slipped a drug into his Coca Cola. He had a vision of a demon, and he tried to find a ceremonial knife used by pagans and came up with a Bible that someone had given him. He shook the Bible at the demon and said Jesus’ name and the demon disappeared. He had other encounters with similar visions that scared him. He accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour, and a group in California sent him to a Bible school there. He speaks of not judging people, and of trying to help others even though he is in poor circumstances as well. He can barely see. His glasses are new through a government program, the lenses are as thick as old Coke bottle glass. He walks with a staff and has a cast on his right foot. He’s been on the road for 22 years. He isn’t sure what he is going to do at this point, at the age of 38. He can’t see well, he can’t drive, but he has a good attitude. He said he didn’t think God wanted him dead yet since there have been many circumstances that he wasn’t willing to share where he could have died along the way. It hasn’t been easy for him. He is simply trying to do the best with what he is being given right now.
How many 38 year olds do you know? Most of the ones I know are on their way through a career or trying to make themselves a career. Or at least that is my perception. How well do we really know that clean cut guy standing beside us at church, talking to us? Is he avoiding telling what is really going on because he doesn’t want to be judged? He is too proud to ask for help? Appearances can be deceiving. Ask anyone who has been to jail and had conversations with seemingly nice guys, only to find out while traveling to court and hearing their arrest record that the guy and four others gang raped an 83 year old woman. Or how about the woman who sits and feeds pigeons in the park and looks like a vagrant with all the clothes she owns on her back, and turns out to be an eccentric millionaire. Don’t judge. Talk to people. Get to know them. Everyone has a story. All of us have value. God didn’t make mistakes and we have no right to judge others for what and who they are, whether they have a home or not. Is it really that hard to be kind?