I didn't believe it. But it was true. And I have to share....
This isn't normal. I don't usually blog this close together. Although, I feel a lot more coming on lately. Lots in this head of mine. Even more in this heart. I was overwhelmed with all of the sweet messages after the last blog about Bill. But the story didn't stop there. Something else happened after I posted it, so I had to write again to tell you the rest. Sometimes I listen to myself talk and I think people have to think I make up half the stuff in my life. But I don't. Sometimes I wish I did.
4 days later after meeting Bill. Same Redbox. Same Time. Getting a movie and there was a man right beside me. Obviously drunk. Talking to himself. He had a hat on that was a mix between a cowboy hat and something Willie Nelson might wear. Shifting back and forth. I probably should have been afraid of him a little - but I wasn't. Not at all.
"You young people. You don't know. You don't know at all"
He was obviously homeless and weary and worn. Trying not to give him eye contact to be protective, but wanting to know his heart. His story.
"You don't understand." He kept saying. It's hard for a therapist not to take the bait on that one. I bit.
"What don't we understand"
"I didn't want to. I didn't want to kill those people." Did he just say 'kill those people'?
"It was fire. It was fire." He was stammering. Me: "What do you mean the fire. What was the fire?"
"It was fire or be fired on. I didn't want to kill those people. It was the war. I didn't want to kill them." He started crying. I was dumbstruck. I looked down at his hands and he was holding them in way he would hold them if he were holding a gun. My mind went back to the boys we had worked with in Congo. I remembered their hands as they held the guns they had made for the drama they did of their abduction. It could have fit in his hands perfectly.
"You young people don't understand. I'm not just a drunk. But I'm a drunk. I'm just a drunk. They put me in that prison. Without parol. My grandbabies. I have never met my grandbabies. My family thinks I'm dead. And I.... I... I didn't want to kill those people."
Trying to hold back tears. I finally felt it was useless.
"I know you didn't. God knows you didn't. I want you to know that God knows you are sorry you did that. He knows and it's ok. I think your grandbabies would love to see you. I bet your family would like to know you're alive."
Him. Crying more now.... "No - they don't care about me. They just think I'm a drunk and a killer."
"You aren't a killer. You know you aren't. God knows you aren't. What is your name?"
"I think Joseph is a beautiful name. What war were you in?"
"I don't want to talk about it. I can't talk about it. You just go now. Just go on."
Both of us wiping our tears away at the same time. I asked if I could pray for him.I did. We shared more tears. Still beside the Redbox in front of God and everybody. Back to the jeep I went. Thinking of Bill. Thinking of Joseph. Thinking of the boys back in Congo and what it all meant.
Why, Lord, do you lead me into these places of War? In Uganda. In Congo. Beside of the broken hearts and lame homeless men who have lost much more than legs in the wars they have been in. What does it all mean?
I don't know yet. I don't know why things like that happen to me. Or why I am doing what I do. Or why I find myself crying with a man I don't even know outside of a McDonald's Redbox. But I do know this:
I'm glad I did. And until I do know - I will keep crying and praying and listening and learning.
And getting movies outside of that Redbox. Strangely, I seem to find Jesus there.