5 Minutes of My Day: The Red Man

On August 4, 2013 by Bethany

Haiti CountrysideI always see him as I head into town. The team is hungry for lunch and I’m so busy, rushing around. He’s always on the side of the road just up ahead. Today he is dancing wildly with his back to the highway. His shirt is dark red and filthy.

He must be middle aged, but his beard is no longer than Eric’s. He wears tattered pants and thin sandals. How does he keep his beard trim? Maybe someone trims it for him.

I pass him slowly on the highway, careful to steer far out of his way for fear that he will fall into the road. He is not in his mind. If he was, he would be terrified to be so close to the trucks and buses that scream by, their horns blaring. My heart aches to help him, but how? He is mentally disabled, left to his own devices and way. He is sleeping in the stolen corner of a store-front just off the highway. I know the man who lives at the store-front, so I stop. I speak with him and he says he’s given him food and clothing, but the red man “is not in his head.” He’s done all he can. The man who lives there is a good man, honest and a follower of Christ. I trust his word. I’m thankful for the love and kindess he’s bestowed upon this man. There’s nothing I can do. There’s not much anyone can do, I learn. “There’s nowhere to take him, those kind of houses are always full.” is what I’m told. So I leave, got to get lunch to the team. 

—- 

I see him for the next 5 days. Every day. Until he isn’t there. I ask where he could have gone. My Haitian friends tell me with heavy words how “Those people move around a lot, they don’t stay in one place for long.” This is a fact of life. This is the truth. This is reality. A reality they wish they could change. A silence falls on the car, everyone waging war in their heart. I whisper a silent prayer for him, somewhere in this country. I pray he isn’t cold tonight. I pray he isn’t confused and lonely. I just want someone to know he is out there, to see him. I feel the weight of those prayers on my tongue, on my pierced heart.

—-

It’s been two days and I see him everywhere in my mind. So much so, that when I see him for real, I almost miss him completely, a mirage. But there he is, waiting with his back to the road in the middle of town. It’s 4:00 and the streets are bustling with people, but he’s there. He has new shoes on and a large backpack on his back, full of items. He holds an equally large bag in his arms and stands staring into the sky. What is in there? I wonder. Did he fill his own bag? Did someone else? What items would he find enough value in to take with him? My mind runs wildly and freely down a path of curiosity. When I break my train of thought, I scan my rear view mirrors for a sight of him. He’s still there, waiting on the bus. I pray he gets on. I pray he gets to wherever it is he is going. Thank you to whomever took it upon him or herself to help him. May you be ever blessed.

I know I’ll never see him again. But thank You Lord for these 30 seconds of… I don’t know what.. security? I know it seems ridiculous, as if my seeing him could make a difference. As if a 23 year old American girl, who doesn’t know his name, doesn’t know the first thing about how to help him and probably couldn’t communicate with him clearly, deserves or benefits from seeing him again. But it is in those 30 seconds I realize how small I am. I realize how BIG You are God. I realize you are placing people in his life to take care of him. I realize You are there. You see me, You see all, so I know You see him. I know You see his face, know his name. I know You are with him to hold him. You will never leave him. There is room in You. To see him. To see and know him. I pray he can know You.

I rest in You and Your big ways. Forgive me Father for my lack of action.

I rest in Your peace. Forgive me for looking for the solution in my own hands before turning to You.

I rest in Your strength. Forgive me for my to-do list, my physical inability to help him.

I rest in Your knowledge. Forgive my frail hands. My frail heart.

I rest in Your forgiveness.

-Bethany

 5 Minutes of My Day is a series of the more intimate moments in our ministry. Launching off of something Eric said to me one day: “When you are overwhelmed or stressed and Satan is on you, focus on the little things. The small moments that make you remember why you live this life. Why you love this ministry.” So here it is, the good the bad and the ugly. Snapshots of 5 minutes of my day.

4 Responses to “5 Minutes of My Day: The Red Man ”

  • I love you Bethany ! And I love your Christ filled heart. I cannot wait until the time I can return to Haiti. Keep up the good work Girl. It’s the prayers that work. You are an inspiration to me and I think you and Eric are just awesome — through Him. Maybe our paths will cross again — I hope so !

  • Great story, thanks for reminding me how big my God is.

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