Friday, February 27, 2009

Jack (aka Jesus) - Part 2

I found out from a coworker that the man's name was Jack. The fire that took so much from him physically also took the lives of his wife and children. I called him by name the next several times he came to order food and also helped him bag up the food and steady his drink. A couple times when I had money on me I covered it for him.

One night after work I saw Jack walking along the road near the store. I pulled over and got out of the car. Finally, a chance to witness to him about the love of God and the price Jesus paid for him. However, as soon as I started telling him that God loved him, he became furious and raised both hands toward heaven (if he had fingers, I knew which ones would be up). The spit and snot flew as he exclaimed two words that obviously were meant to be "F___ God!" My heart sank. He started walking away and I walked after him, surprised that he wasn't more receptive to someone who had treated him with respect and dignity. Finally, I realized he wasn't going to have anything to do with me, and I let him go.

A couple nights later, I saw Jack again. He seemed to be struggling with something. I pulled over, got out of my car and said hi to him. He had a cigarette in his mouth and gave me an open matchbook. It was cold and windy. Instead of waiting for me to strike the match and hold it up to him, he leaned down as I was striking the match. I exclaimed, "Be careful, I don't want to burn you." Then I realized what I had said. "Mark, you stupid IDIOT! Of all the things to say!" I couldn't believe I had said it, but I moved on and lit his cigarette. In my opinion, it was better to consider it no big deal and go on than it would be to try to backpedal and apologize. As soon as the cigarette was lit, he nodded a thank you and took off walking like he had a couple nights prior. I got back in my warm car and prayed for him.

I didn't see Jack the next day, or the next. A week went by, then two. I began to be hopeful that he had found somewhere to stay. I still lived with my parents and there were no bedrooms available, nor did I know of any shelters in the area. Hopefully he was okay. Several days later the same coworker who had told me Jack's name informed me that he had jumped in front of a moving truck and killed himself.

Maybe you thought this was going to be a good story. Maybe you thought it was going to be a testimony. Maybe you thought you were going to read a happy ending. I certainly did, so the harsh reality that not every story has a happy ending hit me hard. Very hard. I don't like to feel like I failed. And, I sure as heck don't want to wonder whether I might have contributed to the story's tragic ending. Those are questions that can eat at someone. Those are the thoughts that haunt. Those are the places where life gets uncomfortable, and life is not supposed to be uncomfortable, right?



At 2/27/2009, Blogger jel said...

thank you

At 2/28/2009, Blogger Erin @ T5M said...

Yeah, took me by surprise there. ...but certainly you didn't do anything wrong, in fact, you did everything right. In my opinion, YOU were Jesus in disguise, not Jack.

Okay, okay...I'll keep reading! :-)

At 3/08/2009, Blogger wilsonian said...

Yea, there is definitely no failure on your part. Your role was to shot the love of Christ. You did a fine job...


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