Monday, December 08, 2008


The youth center is pretty full tonight with teens who are in the middle of their favorite prayer, a tradition started by a member who is now in college called A Rose and a Thorn. They thank God for a blessing in their lives, "a rose," and a present a concern, "a thorn." Tonight the roses are plentiful, and the thorns are dull, and that's a good thing, in a way. "Um, My rose is being here, and my thorn is... that I have school tomorrow," says a girl in a lacrosse sweatshirt.

Then we are suddenly interrupted by a thorn. A disheveled man stumbles into the room. How he got in the building is unclear, but here he is, a living lesson of the true meaning of Christmas: "Love one another."

"Excuse me, I am looking for a certain street, I have no place to sleep and I am very cold."

He is shivering, and he reeks like pot, so I take him into the hallway and sketch out a map that will lead him to that certain block where there is a shelter. All I have to offer him is a box of crackers. He asks for a Bible. I ask his name.

"Dave."He says. "Thank you for asking." His eyes are glassy and I feel bad that he has absolutely no one in this world who cares for him. High or not, a person is a person. It's warm inside and he says he just wants to sit for a while in the hall, but I say no. I have to think of the safety of the teens in the next room, so I send him on his way. As I open the door the frigid air blasts in, and he blesses me leaving with a Bible and a box of Saltines tucked in his coat, but no gloves. I lock the door behind him and think of the stray cat I stumbled upon last week, dead and frozen solid in the bushes beside this entrance.

I watch Dave walk towards the road, knowing he'll haunt me indefinitely. I come back into the youth center visibly disturbed.

"Aw! Do you need a hug?" asks a thoughtful youth.

"No, Dave needs gloves, and I couldn't really help him." I respond, and they all stare at me for a moment, understanding. No living being should be cold, hungry and alone.


Putz said...

i find it hard...also i need to tell you we do need hell hound to be herod...jaspher bell our cat is gold frankenscense and myrrr, and he could carry him gentilly in his mouth right??????hard not to give all my money away to my bloggers, especially when i know they are sitting there a click away and in job ,computer self distructed, sick child, doctor's appointment for the mother and just weeks ago they were do we do it...?????

The Koala Bear Writer said...

Hard to know what to do in situations like this... but glad you were at least able to give him some food (both for his body and his soul).

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

That brought tears to my eyes!

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