A Picture of Contrast

He wears a fitted a Brooks Brother’s suit with cordovan wing tips and imported silk tie to the high rise everyday. Fitting symbolism for a man of prominent position within the firm of Marsh Mclennan. Years of hard work, long hours, and shrewd decisions have earned him the respect of his peers. Until one day, when it all began to fall apart.

It was eleven years ago on the eve of anticipated success. His daughter would take the bar exam the next morning. Morning never came. Pat was surprised when the police officer knocked at his door late that evening to inform him that his daughter had committed suicide. He can barely stay composed sharing the story with me as a single tear slides down his face. A tear drops near the steering wheel of my car as I peer out through the open window.

Pat is the picture of health…thin, clean shaven, nicely dressed in blue jeans and a red polo shirt. I can easily imagine this distinguished looking whited headed man sitting behind a mahogany desk. Only two things blur this picture of success, his white, smoke stained mustache and his bandaged feet shielded by walking casts.

Some time after the death of his daughter, Pat went through a divorce, sold three floundering businesses and went back to work for Marsh. He began to spend his savings and eventually lost his job and his health insurance. After years of poor diabetes management he developed charcot foot. Pat tells me underneath the bandages his feet are in bad shape. He is truly bewildered at his own homelessness.

Pat and I set and talk in the shade of a tree by the gas station while he munches on a taco. “I’ve given up on God. I just don’t understand how all of this can happen. I’ve made some dumb decisions though, and here I am homeless.”

I asked Pat where he is staying and he points at the old deserted steak house nearby. “I’ve been living in there for four months.” Neither of his remaining children know that he is homeless. “I’m just too proud to tell them. A colleague of mine gives me some money a couple of times a month and has begged me to move in with he and his wife. I’m just too dang proud. I’ve never asked anyone for help.”

“How long can you keep this up,” I questioned?

“In three months, I can start drawing early social security. I plan on getting an apartment. I think I’ll do some of the stuff your doing…buy $5 McDonald’s gift cards and give them to my friends. Until then, I will just try to keep my distance from the other homeless people and survive. I don’t fit in here.

“Pat, my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine how I might handle your circumstances. I do know one thing. God hasn’t forgotten you. He loves you more than ever!”

It’s ironic.  I have made some dumb decisions too.  Haven’t we all.  I’ve let pride and fear keep me from choosing correctly.  For years I fought the off again on again battle against personal sin always fearful of what others and my wife would think of me if I reached out for help.  Too full of pride to admit that I couldn’t conquer this sin on my own.

I imagine Pat’s two children wonder what’s become of their Dad.  I imagine they would gladly step in and rescue him like he rescued them when they were in need. But Pride.  But Fear.  Our heavenly Father is waiting for us.  He has provided a way out of the mess by sacrificing his son, Jesus.  But Pride, But Fear.

Please pray for Pat. Pray for his salvation. Pray for his health and that his children will discover that he needs a helping hand.


2 Responses to “A Picture of Contrast”

  1. June 3, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Too many have and are where Pat is and has been. I even know of staunch Christians having many doubts with life’s issues and where God might be. We hang in the balance. I will be a regular reader.

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