Today I found my self sitting in a waiting room @ an HIV clinic. As I waited for my meeting I watched the patients come in to the waiting room. Most were by all appearances gay men. There was one small Hispanic woman and a baby. I tried not to look at the people, but my eyes would not mind me and looked anyway. These are the forgotten of our society, I began to think. This is where Jesus would be if he were here. I sat quietly and read an article about a single white female and her battle against HIV. I fought back tears, and lost. Ryan was sitting close to me and I could tell he could feel it too, the loneliness of the room. The sadness of that space in time.
The visit to the clinic reminded me of another time, another place that I knew Jesus would spend time. It's called the Messner home. It's on a main road in Lexington. From the front it appears to only be an old house. You have to drive behind the house, in a cul-de-sac to park. At first from that angle it looks like an old house with a couple of cottages. First stepping inside the main house, was something I'll never forget. This place, this home, houses approx 70 Vietnam vets and/or homeless young men. It is as if you left the United States and entered a developing country, or stepped into the twilight zone. The residents were among the most deranged men I have ever encountered. I was a little afraid I must admit, and I never went alone again. I had the privilege to talk with a man who had prior been homeless and now was thankful to have a bed. He was afraid to remove his shoes and socks, for fear of them being stolen, and had developed open wounds on his feet. He had/ they had no sheets, blankets, rags or towels. Each time we would visit we would buy clothes and rags and such, that this man could feel clean, even human. We donated other items to the home as well. We sat on the porch with a guy with quarters sticking out of his ears, apparently to tune in or out the voices in his head. I talked with a young man, 18 or so, who had obvious mania and could not wait for his wife to get out of rehab at the HOPE center so they could start a life together. I watched an emaciated man, who feared his food was poisoned, try to sell one of the 7 or so hats he had on his head at one time. My stories could go on and on. The first day I went there after pulling away from the curb, I thought, this is as close to Jesus as I might ever be. Though none can comprehend what leaving heaven was like to come to this earth, I experienced something similar. I left my sheltered life and entered a life or disorganized thought, filth and sickness. I physically touched these people, but they spiritually touched me.
Today after reflecting on these two places, I think of the power in us thru the HOLY SPIRIT. We have the power to make someones day. If I were in Jesus' seat at the HIV clinic, I'm sure he would have done more than sit. He would have had a kind word or gentle touch to the patients in the lobby. If Jesus was visiting the Messner home, the people would have been changed. At best I helped the wounds heal on one gentleman's foot. I am not trying to be self deprecating, just realizing the power that we have to make someones day, and how often we let these opportunities slip by. Another thought I had today was about the war rhetoric we hear in some Churches. Some Church's tend to make the enemy the liberals, the gays, the fruit nuts. Today more clearly than ever I see our real battle is with the principalities of darkness, darkest of all seems to me is loneliness. I hope I have the honor to serve these people, who Jesus created and loves, many times in the future.