Sunday, September 13, 2015


He walked into my office one day. I was still working as a family therapist. He was alone, which was
unusual. There was usually more than one. I remember my first impressions: He was old, obviously
worn down from all the living. His skin was fragile, transparent, like the slightest touch would draw
blood. His face was wrinkled, his brows wild and bushy. His muscles were gone, used up over all the
years. He was a bit slumped, giving him the appearance of having carried many burdens over his
lifetime. He walked with a slight limp, probably from falling on numerous misguided paths. Still, his
eyes were penetrating. He stared at me with a longing to find something, perhaps salvation, 
something I was not prepared to give him.

Everything had taken its toll on him, including the booze. Mainly whiskey. I don’t know what they
thought I could do. He talked and I listened. Stories of delight, hope, despair, betrayal, friendship,
love, hate, forgiveness and lack of forgiveness, all meshed into sixty-seven years of living. Back
from prison; homeless and living on Skid Row; married and divorced, at least three times; rejected
as a father by his son and daughter; lost jobs and bankruptcies until he was forced to beg; a bleeding
ulcer and pancreatitis and numerous broken bones from beatings. Back from promises broken and
nightmares turned real. Each time saved he was thankful, but not enough to quit drinking. Not for
very long. What could I do for him but listen, say thanks for sharing, help him from his chair, gently
squeeze his hand, touch him lightly on the shoulder, and hope, as I was showing him out, that I at
least made the slightest difference.

I woke up at 1a.m. I had been dreaming about meeting Christ. I shook my head to get the cobwebs
out. Suddenly it occurred to me:  I already had.

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