Friday, August 29, 2008

Ricky


I have a homeless friend named Ricky. He is mentally ill and for a long time I avoided him because at times he acted so unusual it made me feel uncomfortable. For example, one time I drove by him running all over the McDonald's parking lot chasing some Sea Gulls. I was giving another homeless friend some socks when he ran up to me and said, "these birds are bullies and I hate bullies" then he bowed and smiled at me with a huge toothless grin and ran off again.

Hmmmm I could give more stories here, but you get the point.

The other day I saw Ricky and started to talk to him. A shop owner approached us and said, "Will you explain to him that if he wants to come into my store then he has got to behave." I started thinking will I explain to him? Why me? This guy is mentally ill and I'm not even sure how we became friends. Plus what does "behaving" look like. Do you mean appropriate behaviors, when purchasing an item, or asking for assistance, this could take all day...

I turned to Ricky and awkwardly said, "He would like you to be nice." The man walked back into his store and Ricky looked like he was going to cry. He told me that God was mad at him and its hard when God is mad. Then he showed me his hands there were scars on the palms of them. I have no idea how they got there. His arms were dirty with open sores, his hair long and matted, his skin weathered deeply tanned and dirty. I felt like for the first time I truly saw him. Just then I felt my heart break with compassion. He is a homeless mentally ill man who seems to have no safety net, living in a state that continues to cut services for the mentally ill.

I've been praying that God would somehow use me or give me the words to explain to Ricky that he matters and that Jesus loves him so much he died for him. I want to be an extension of God's love. I'm thinking of making him some turkey stuffing. He loves the stuff. Is it too corny to say here's some stuffing I made it because I want you to know God loves you and wants you to be his son?

6 comments:

Kajoli said...

Wow you are soooo amazing!I am just stunned with your attempts to do things that are bigger than your own world

~Miss Nelson said...

I will keep him in my prayers that he will come to realize that Jesus loves him. I am sure he appreciates you even stopping to talk to him. I can't even imagine what his life may be like.

Casdok said...

No its not to corny at all.

jen said...

...stuffing. Seems appropriate - maybe because I think stuffing is fabulous as well :) I htink the heart behind the gift will be the true gift to your friend Ricky - and he will see God's love in that.

Mike Yaconelli wrote in his book "Dangerous Wonder - the Adventure of Childlike faith" (one of my absolute favorite books of ALL time)....about a young man sent to give out tracts in the inner city when he knocked on an his first apartment door a gruff, wide-eyed woman answered the door - smoke from her cigarette billowing into the hallway - she was holding a baby wrapped in a towel who was crying - she took one look at him grunted & closed the door. - the young man proceeded to go down the block to the local convenience store - where he bought a carton of cigarettes & a package of diapers. Then he went back to the woman, this time she let him in.

Sometimes, we well-intentioned believers, get it all wrong... Christ was relational, he met people (even the despised and disregarded of the world) where they were. Christ would have hung out & loved lavishly the Ricky's in the world - blessings to you for doing the same...

Jen P said...

You are always an inspiration. I don't think you give yourself enough credit in the balancing department. I'm sure you are doing better than you think you are. God knows it you don't, but thought I'd tell you anyway!

PS - new blog is up and you can change the link on your blogroll! Thanks! whatjenfinds.com

Jennifer Z said...

Not corny. Meaningful.
Thank you for the reminder to look beneath the surface.