I met John this evening.
John was sitting on a bench, just outside the entrance to our church. He was crying; head held in both hands, shoulders slumped beneath the weight of the burdens he carried. John wore a long ponytail, solid black and flowing down his back. His high cheekbones, strong nose and dark red skin revealed his Native-American heritage. Full-blooded Kiowa, John’s life was headed down a path familiar to those with money and too much time on their hands.
John is an addict.
The needle marks in his arms, the raw membranes inside his nostrils, and stubby, rotten teeth betrayed his years of drug use and abuse. John was running for his life. Actually, John was running toward life, and away from the life that had stolen his lucrative construction company, his friends, and his family.
John has had enough of that life. He boarded a bus in another city, and rode to Tulsa, where he has only 1 friend, and his friend is not a drug user. His friend is an alcoholic, and he offered John a case of beer and a place to stay.
After consuming 9 beers, John realized that this was not the path to the life he had envisioned for himself. He walked away from the home of his alcoholic friend, and walked back to the bus station, then across to our church.
John was sitting there for me to find. Tired from a long day, I thought I just could not deal with another drifter looking for cash for a bus ticket that would instead be used for his next fix. But John was different. John didn’t want money; he wanted help.
John had lots of cash on him, so he didn’t need money. John was one of the few who was genuine in his desire for rehabilitation. He seemed so, anyway; but then again, after 9 beers, who can really tell….
I called a friend who was still at church who leads our community ministries. And together, we spoke little, listened a lot, and helped John get to a place where he could find the healing and help he needs.
Tonight, John has a warm bed in a safe place, far removed from the drugs his body craves. Tomorrow morning, John will be introduced to a drug counselor, and to the first steps of the battle to reclaim the life he once knew. He will also be introduced to our Heavenly Father. And I pray that the Great Physician will heal John’s body, his mind, and his spirit so that when John has completed rehab, not only will he be free of his personal demons, but spiritual demons as well.
John, I’m with ya, man…..