Working on details for the service in the office, I felt this tug to go get some fresh air, to think through things on the front steps of the church. It's a good, cool day, rainy, windy.
I look across the street and see a sight I know well--not just Slone's Market and the mountain behind it, but a disheveled fellow. Homeless, alcoholic.
I walk over and sit next to him on the bench, we introduce each other. He jumps right in, "Would you help a brother out one time?"
"More than one time," I said.
"I'd like a little something to eat."
Slone's has great sandwiches, hot or cold, good, solid stick-to-your-ribs veggies... "Sure, would you like me to get you something in Slone's?"
"Well, I like Arby's." It's just down the street. "Let's go," I said.
"I was wanting to eat a little later."
"Ok, I am the pastor at the church across the street. Come get me when you're ready."
"I don't know when it will be, could you help me out?"
"I don't give anyone cash. I'll buy you something to eat if you need it, but no cash."
He shrugged. We got to talking about where he is from--Pikeville, but he moved here from Lexington 2 days ago. Maybe it's true, maybe it's not.
After we have just sat for a few moments, saying nothing, I said, "Do you know God loves you?" He just turned his head away.
"He wants to set you free from drinking."
"I am trying to sober up..."
"No you're not. You're drinking mouthwash, and that's going to kill you."
A long silence.
I pointed to the church. "You know where to find me."
My phone buzzed, had an email. I walked down the sidewalk a bit, turned around and he was gone, like a ghost. No one can disappear like a drunk.
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