I decided long ago when my boys were little that I wanted to be an example of kindness and respect to all the people that pass by. It's not always easy. Sometimes it's inconvenient. And yes, sometimes I have little patience. But I try.
Recently one of our all time regulars has been showing up every day. Asking him his name was always complicated. I had heard him say something like Belteshazzar? He likes cars and always wants to know if I wouldn't like to wash mine. He's not young, but not old. He always asks about William and if he's in the United States now. He always wants water and asks for a piece of bread. He's dirty and he's crazy.
For about three weeks I'd seen this friend almost every day. I began to wonder if something had changed in his life. Conversations are always random, but one day he said something about a person dying. I wondered if he had lost his caregiver and as a result was wandering more during the day. Our little town has several wanderers.
Friday night we were coming home by car from a Bible Study at church. It had been raining for hours which is super unusual in our semiarid region of Brazil, and was still every so slightly drizzly. [Our weather is great for homeless wanderers.] I spotted our crazy friend walking down the sidewalk towards our neighborhood. I thought it was odd. Night time, rainy and heading in what seemed like the wrong direction.
We had to drop off some people and went home. Sure enough as soon as we'd gone into the house, here he came. He didn't stop to clap at the gate, but was standing right at the front door wanting to come on in. He was asking for water and bread and started telling me he was coming in. Something didn't seem quite right.
I called for Byron. Byron saw what I had not, our friend had a huge gash on the top of his head. Byron asked what had happened to him and called for me to come and look. It was bad, long and deep. I'm not sure why I hadn't seen it right away. We started to think and thought we needed to take him to the little hospital in town.
We didn't have too much trouble getting him in the car. He likes our car. I took my documents in case I had to "register" him at the hospital and I was sure he didn't have any. I wasn't exactly sure how we would be received with this dirty street fellow, but decided I'd try to act professional and keep my Yankee voice inflections in check.
Thankfully we were treat with respect and issued right into a room. The desk clerk knew the man's name! Miguel! I went with our pal with a name and noticed I'd lost Byron! Byron has had bad experiences at this little hospital with blood and fainting. He had chosen wisely to sit in the waiting room.
A male nurse began to clean the wound. Mr. Miquel didn't want to lay down and didn't want to hold still. I figured I was his best hope and went into Mama Mode. I folded his hands onto his chest and held him down gently. As he rambled about leaving and getting up, I told him I'd never give him another cup of water if he didn't lay down and hush. It worked for a bit, but when the needle came out for stitches, it was all over. Mr. Miguel went loonier than normal and jumped off the bed. Doctor's visit over.
He began to ramble about going home to my house and told me to give them my address as his! He would need to stay there at least three days he said...
In the middle of all his shouting and jumping he quoted his own address three times! Ah, could it be. We were quite sure what else to do so we put Mr. Miguel back in the car he likes and he was quite content until we turned towards his address and not ours!
It took a couple of stops but we found his house and his sister. The explanation of who we were and why we were bringing her brother home late at night with a cut that smelled like medicine was interesting to say the least. I suggested that she call the town's only ambulance and ask for help. Our friend, Miguel apparently takes some medicine that he had skipped that night and we may never know how he got hurt.
I can only hope he got some medical attention with his sister's assistance. I can hope that Miguel's family noticed our kindness and concern as a result of Christ's love. I plan to stop by and check on him this week, he, he, now that I know where he lives!