Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I don't know what it is that draws them, but when I am south of the border, those who are under the influence, seem to be drawn to me. It seems that each time I go, I am engaged by a man who has had too much to drink, and wants to talk to me about life.

They have plenty of other choices on my team, but I am the one they decide needs to hear what they have to say (I am actually thankful they choose me and not one of my students).

This time, I had gone out to my aforementioned favorite spot...leaning on the black wrought iron rail, in front of the church. I stood there watching and praying for those who passed. Occasionally engaging some in brief conversation.

As I stood there, the rest of the team of eight wandered out to join me. There we stood, leaning on the rail, watching life in Mexico go by.

A man about my height, but with way more hair plodded past seven others and stopped at me. He even looked familiar. Maybe this Jose was the same one I had spoken to before, I am really not sure. What I do know is that he was drunk.

He wasn't falling down incoherent, drunk. He was just slurring his words, so my friend/interpreter couldn't understand him, drunk. For some reason, I could comprehend what he was saying better than my friend. As you may recall, I understand more Spanish than I speak, and the fact that his speech had slowed down due to his inebriated state, helped me. Or maybe it was the Holy Spirit working in translation, I really don't know...but I was after all, at the black fence rail, where I understand Spanish better than anywhere else in Mexico.

As Jose shared with me, some of the others listened. Sometimes thinking I did not know what he had said, they would toss words my direction trying to didn't. It just distracted me. I tried hard to focus on our conversation.

Something about him reached into my soul. He was drunk, his shirt was ripped in the back, from top to bottom. He wanted something. I wanted to give him something. What we each had in mind were worlds apart.

As we spoke, a woman came up, who was apparently with him, and urged him to hurry as she needed to go to the bathroom. He was intent on talking.

Once, one of the other men tried to intervene and get involved in the exchange. Jose pointed at me, and indicated his lack of desire to speak to anyone else.

I told him about Jesus. He told me of his need for more money. He told me he had tried Jesus and it did not work for him. I told him he did not need more money that he would in turn spend on more alcohol. He laughed with embarrassment, realizing I was seeing through his ruse.

At several points I said goodbye to him, but he did not leave.

I knew that it was unlikely he would even remember this conversation in his condition, and so did not press too hard to share more with him. I did however, try to embrace him as a brother.

When we left for dinner, he was still talking. As we walked to our restaurant, he trailed me. When we reached an intersection, he asked for money to buy cigarettes. I turned and told him one final time I would not support his habits. He left.

Like Jose, my conversations with other drunks have been similar. I have seen them pass out in and fall to the ground in front of me. I have had other extended conversations in which there would be no end, unless I ended it. Some want to talk about Jesus, some want money, and others only want to be loved.

The perception is that every American is rich. Compared to what they have, this seems true. What will we choose to do with our wealth? They are hoping we will help them. I hope so too, only I know we will not help them in the way they desire.

People who are drunk are likely to only remember conversations in fractures and fragments. My prayer is that the Lord will one day bring them to Him. I have invited each man to return when sober. So far, none have.

Alcoholism has a firm grip on many in this country. The enemy uses many different vehicles to gain control over their lives. The same is true in our country.

From college campuses to co-workers to our churches, there are people who are in need of what we have. Not our silver or least not yet. For now, they need us to freely give to them from the well of the Holy Spirit within us. One step at a time, one person at a time, we can make a difference.



At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting today....what a reminder that we are walking testamonies everyday and may be the only christian that a person may come in contact we act may cause someone to come to know our Lord.

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

meet them where they are . . . love them with the Heart of the Spirit and EVENTUALLY, they will be reached . . .

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice posting today brent! I enjoy reading each day. You are in my families prayers daily!
Rick Bloss

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