An act of stupid love.
I’m amazed sometimes at how comfortable I am in the midst of poverty. I can honestly sit comfortably next to, at the table with, share a meal with and chat with and walk with prostitutes, meth addicts, homeless pregnant moms, Mexican families living in pallet shacks… just about anyone.
Recently this ease with which I can be in the midst of suffering and struggle went too far. Sometimes what I do can be stupid too. Sometimes people think I’m not being safe. Okay I get that, but I’m still here… I’ll keep doing it. But stupid, even inconsiderate I hope that can slowly be left to the side.
Okay the story. My previous post introduced Robert. I’ve known of him for a long time, and just recently gotten to know him better through breakfast burritos, and coffee.
On Sunday night after our Percolator gathering, Greg and I were chit chat’n and as we were getting ready to head home, I heard Robert yelling about something, so I went to find out what was up. He was not happy, and wasn’t in the mood to talk. When we had talked previously he said he was sleeping without any blankets. So when I saw he was getting ready to bed down for the night I thought, I need to take care of this. John and Abby V had given me some blankets in the morning and so I ran home to get them. Now about 1030 I headed back downtown to find Robert.
This is where the stupidity comes into play. It’s late, I’m alone, and I’m going to try and help an angry homeless guy. Those three should have put my stupidity meter on alert, but no such luck… I take it to a whole new level.
SO… I get back to where Robert had been and I see that he is already laying down and has a blanket… but moving a bit. I don’t know if he’s asleep, but my thought is both crap he already has a blanket, I was wrong, and dang it’s cold he needs more than just that blanket.
So I pull out two of my blankets and begin to cover him up. So far no problem. I get him covered and I should just leave it at that. I call out to him, but he doesn’t answer. So just to make sure he’s gonna be warm (stupidity alarm is going berserk) I bend over and attempt to tuck him in. A 65+ year old homeless man, at night, alone, getting tucked in by… big me… an overly eager blanket toter.
Well, I startle the poor guy and it just goes down hill at this point. I feel like an idiot, I try to convince him I’m not robbing him, I just want him to be warm. This doesn’t work. He doesn’t want the blankets. Leave him alone.
Yeah. I’m an idiot. I think on video this would have been priceless. I’m pretty sure there are some principles here about where a person’s desire to help crosses the line of respect and dignity. I’m pretty sure I crossed them all. It has me thinking.
Later that night I did find a guy who was cold and without any blankets for the night. I helped him out… minus the tuck in.