I Just Wanted To Say...

What is your problem?

Location: Georgia, United States

I am me. More than I was, less than I will be. This is difficult. Facts-female, southern, mother and grandmother. Abstract-a Christian, a loner, intelligent, somewhat arrogant, impatient with stupidity, an unusual sense of humor.


They all look the same-

Some members of our church went on a mission trip to help build a camp for Romanian gypsies. They made some contacts there and the result was that a Romanian pastor came to visit and speak at our church.
He was quite a man. Early thirties, not very tall and with an appealing shyness that he worked hard to put aside. He began by apologizing for his English, which wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. His "not so good English" gave him one of his best lines. He talked about his conversion to Christianity in his early twenties and about how he thought he should stop cussing. He said, "I lost half my dictionary then."
But there was one part of his story in particular that made a deep impression on me. He had been straightforward about his life in the military. He drank, smoked, paid women for sex, beat people for the fun of it. But after four years of it, he was unhappy. He knew that he was missing something in his life, but he wasn't sure what it was.
He spoke of a visitor who came to see him one day and talk to him about his lifestyle. He said he knew her as a drug addict who roamed the streets asking for money to feed her habit. She had approached him more than once when he was out carousing with his buddies, wanting money. He said, "You know the kind of person I'm talking about. You've seen them. I saw them when I was in your downtown Atlanta. I recognized them, because they are the same people. They all look the same."
I didn't hear the next few minutes of what he was saying, because the truth of his statement got to me.
"They all look the same".
For some reason, that one phrase, delivered in his broken English, seemed to capture the misery and pain of drug addiction. Maybe it was the truth of it that suddenly made me so sad. That made me feel an emotion that I don't often feel-sympathy.

He was very unkind to this young woman, telling her he knew what kind of person she was, and that she had a lot of nerve coming to his house and acting like something was wrong with him. She went on to tell him that she had changed and was different now and that she wanted him to come and meet the people who had helped her. He ended up going with her, of course, and these same people that helped her helped him see that what he was missing was a relationship with God.

Although his story was about his conversion, I think now about that girl, about the generosity of heart and humbleness of spirit that it took for that nameless girl to go to him, knowing what he was like at that time, knowing he would be unkind and insulting, knowing that he would bring up her past and throw it at her like a weapon to hurt and humiliate her. But she went anyway. While I felt sympathy for her at first, I consider what she was willing to do and I think of her now with honor and respect and admiration. I wish her well.


Blogger RP said...

They do all look similar, certainly. Misery is a great equalizer.

4:44 PM  

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