Not too far from my house is a small commercial area home to a large garden center, nearby is an old motel that has been converted into a halfway house for addicts and people with mental illness. It is very discreet and no one would know this unless they lived nearby. Over the years I have seen many residents walk by my house on their way to another commercial area where there is a grocery store and a restaurant or two.
As most of my friends know, I love crazy people, people with Down Syndrome and all sorts of eccentrics. Whenever I am outside working in the yard or something, I always try to greet these folks whenever they go by the house - although I wasn't quite so friendly when I first moved here. Most of the folks I greet usually never respond, although sometimes they have yelled things like "F-off" - if they said anything at all. The chemically dependent seem to be the exception - they will ask for money, a cigarette, or a can of pop in the summer.
Anyway, this morning as I woke up, the first thought into my mind was "they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields." I like to think my angel whispers these things to me, sometimes to form my prayer for the day. As I went to the kitchen to plug in the coffee, I looked out the window just as one of the residents from the halfway house was walking by.
His head was shaved and he was dressed all in black with studs in his ears and on his jeans; he walked aggressively, hunched forward, bobbing back and forth as if he wanted to appear threatening. At the risk of sounding like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, giving the details of what he is thinking, the following was my thought process after watching the man walk by the house:
- Now he reminds me of Simon of Cyrene, I thought. Simon must have been a day laborer. Perhaps he was some sort of an outcast himself - most likely he accounted for nothing. Coming in from the fields - tired - he must have resented being forced to do even more - until he realized whose cross he was carrying... sharing. I hope this guy recognizes Jesus and is healed - saved. Saved is better I thought - sometimes, some people wouldn't know how to live if they are healed.
- I then noted that he walked like I did when I was in grade school, so other kids would think I was tough - it worked. Perhaps that tough facade is his defense while in treatment - especially in a halfway house.
- I couldn't help but think that if I lived in Kenwood (a classy neighborhood in MPLS) neighbors would probably call the police to report the guy as a suspicious person stalking their luxury homes.
- I suspected that he must be new to the halfway house because I had never noticed him before today.
Then I went in to another room to pray, and I pondered, "they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields."
I don't know what it would be like either - if I was healed, I mean.
"In the face of all my foes
I am a reproach,
an object of scorn to my neighbors
and of fear to my friends."