Friday it rained in Pioneer Park. But that’s sort of like saying that Nicolas Cage starred in a new crappy movie on Friday. Late November afternoons in the Pacific Northwest are the epitome of grey and drizzle, so Friday was common in that way, but it was uncommon in more profound ways. Friday was a day for opportunities – opportunities presented, and in a rare departure from our culture’s growing indifference – opportunities seized. Pioneer Park, the Friday last, was drizzly and teeming with celestial pleasure.
Following several hours of word stitching in my favorite coffee shop, the time for my departure had come, and while walking to my car, I meditated on my own feelings of the place, the Park – the way my heart’s inclined toward it the way many are inclined to a church. The Park is a church to me – the library courtyard like temple gates and the rustic clock tower like an old church steeple, and the Spirit – how my heart feels Him engaged there, in the lives of those who abide within and surrounding the Park.
Circling near a candy cane entwined light post, there I caught sight of a familiar face – one of those faces that, for reasons unknown, stand off against the rest of them, and as I prepared to pass the man with the face, to say ‘hello’, I sensed the Spirit in a dance.
“Hi Deano. How’s it going?” I asked. I’d had a brief exchange with the man the day prior, and I still remembered his name. He’d shared a bit of his story then – how he’d been staying with a group of other homeless, circulating weekly through a group of area churches that offered warm quarters for the winter.
“Oh, I’m not good – not good at all.” he said. “I gotta get to my doctor, and I can’t find the place. It’s my heart doctor, and I don’t know if I need medication, or what. It’s my first time seeing this doctor, and I can’t get there, and I don’t know what’s going to happen to me if I can’t get there!”
“What time’s your appointment?” I asked; he gave me a time that was yet over an hour off, which made me quite happy for Deano, because I knew that he was going to make it to see his doctor today, for he and I, we were, for a moment, part of something Larger. In the temple courts of my favorite church, the Park, wonders occur.
I asked him where his doctor’s office was, and he quickly pulled a page, printed from the library computer, with his doctor’s name and address. Deano may be homeless, but he’s a pretty together guy, I discovered.
“Come on, Deano. I’ll drive you there.” I said. It was during our car ride to the Good Samaritan Medical Center, not more than ten minutes in length, that I gained an understanding of how truly together Deano is, and how beautiful is his spirit, as he uses his blessing of togetherness to aid and support other homeless folks he encounters – helps them with their public assistance paperwork, helps them with their doctor appointments, same as I was doing for him.
“So, I’m a pretty good guy, I guess.” he sighed.
“Yes, you’re a good guy, Deano.” I said. A good guy – a kind hearted, sincere guy, Deano is. A bit of a nervous guy as well, a bit scared of what may happen to him once the winter ends and the churches no longer send the bus to retrieve him, and what may happen if he gets sick out there on the streets.
“When you got a sick heart, you have to be careful.” he said, and I worked to hold back a tear, because his words touched me, and I didn’t have a response for that statement. It’s true; I know that. You do gotta be careful with your heart. Deano is a wise man, as well.
We reached the medical center, and I pulled into the roundabout by the front doors, paused there. Then I told Deano that I am a teller of stories, that his personality is one that makes for a compelling character, and I’d like to write his story. He asked me if I figured there’d be any money in this sort of story. “No,” I told him, “but if there ever should be, I’d happily give you a cut.” And as I spoke those words, I felt the warmth of God’s smile.
Categories: Faces In The Sea