Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Injured, broke, and trying to work. . .

Friday a man knocked on my front door.

His jeans were torn, his clothing filthy, his facial expressions bespoke his fear and embarrassment.

"I live down the street in the blue apartments," he began. He told me his name and then began telling me his story.

He needed to earn a few dollars to purchase his anti-seizure medication. Just out of the hospital after a series of episodes, he needed a job.

When I reached for my wallet, he stepped back.

"No, don't do that," he scolded me. "I don't want a handout, I want a job. May I clean your windows or rake your lawn?" he suggested.

As we negotiated the job options, he showed me the gunshot wound that marked the back of his head. He pushed back his drooping right eyelid to reveal the absence of a normal eye. He told me an incident of random gunfire had devastated him and his life.

"The bullet came out my eye," he informed me. "The brain injury changed me."

He then began to cry.

He told me his meager disability benefits don't near cover his cost of living. He wept when he told me that he used our food pantry at CitySquare so he could eat. 

He told me about his church.

He told me about his career before being shot.

He hugged me.

He went to work on the leaves in my yard, and I paid him well so that he could get his meds.

My neighbor should be doing better.   Make no mistake about it:  he's trying very hard.  He's doing all he can do.

I'll try to help him, to stay in touch.

But the scale of problems like his are overwhelming. With so many in dire need, we need economies of scale provided by collective, national solutions.

In Monday's newspaper I read about more cuts in our privatized mental health services for the poor and disabled in Texas.  As the report noted, Texas has made it to the bottom of the national ranking for these services. 

Think about it.


belinda said...

heartbreaking. there but by the grace of God go i . . .

thank you for sharing. it should make everyone be still and think. be thankful for what they have and help those that don't "have."

Anonymous said...

But the scale of problems like his are overwhelming. With so many in dire need, we need economies of scale provided by collective, national solutions.

Here we go again. One sad story and the only solution is a national solution requiring 100 million taxpayers to foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

Luke 10:25-37
New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
29 ... he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

If Larry is a sophist (see yesterday's comments), he's in good company. Jesus routinely told a story about a single individual and drew compassionate life lessons from it. (Even stories he presumably "made up.")

If that's "sophistry," I'll gladly keep that company.


Rawlins said...

Your post could not be more timely. I am Rawlins Gilliland, desperately trying to help a 54 yr old very kind but mentally skittish man who has lived in the Trinity Forest for several years near my home some sort of place. He has camped out for years but I know a temporay night shelter won't work. He walks about 7 miles or more a day to get a meal at the mission on Second Ave. near Scyene Rd south of Fair Park. It has taken me forever to win his trust but this year I have & he even allowed me FINally to take him to buy some new walking shoes since his were worn out & inadequate. But I am so worried about him. He is smart & good & has never used drugs or had an alcohol problem. He is a person to whom God knows what happened. God bless you & us all who are so drained trying to mop up the runoff in a clueless or indifferent time. If any one can tell me any options that might be available, I am at their debt. my email is rawlins@sbcglobal.net

Larry James said...

Rawlins, so very good to "meet" you! Have admired your work for some time. Let's keep dancin'!

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