Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You just wouldn’t let me be the hero...

I am not sure what exactly drew me to you
I know what it wasn’t...the smell, your teeth, your unwashed clothes.

I remember seeing you in the gym,
the way you would not work out,
your meandering path through the machines,
your lack of work out attire etiquette.

We were from two different sides of humanity’s moon,
mine had more light, yours seemed to be full of shadows.

You always seemed like the kid on the far corner of the playground.
The one at the empty table....like one person on the seesaw.

Was it fate that made us neighbors?
Destiny, purpose or plan?
Or was it simply a cosmic serendipity?

Whatever the case...somehow I became your pastor.
Not in the typical way people claim a person as theirs,
but in an off handed, distant way...
Kind of like a young boy nurses a crush on the star cheerleader.
We simply lived in the same streets, walked the same sidewalk,
breathed the same exhaust, shared the same songs,
heard the same words and watched the bus come and go.

I reached out to you like a kid tries to rescue a soaked cat;
more scratches than purring...
pulling on the tail in some delirium of compassion,
Your indifference didn’t fit my ideal of salvation.
Maybe you didn’t need me...

You wouldn’t let me be a hero.
I couldn’t play my messiah card,
None of my evangelistic spells seemed to work on you.
No Jedi mind tricks...sometimes you’d just walk away mid-sentance.

Your house scarred me, like someone vomiting;
I didn’t want any of it on me, but I didn’t want you sick either.
You caught me in my own squeamishness and quirkiness,
It’s hard to be a surgeon if it involves being that close.

I knew you were dying...what is someone to do with someone who doesn’t want to live?
How do you save someone who doesn’t want to be saved?
How can you be a knight in shining armor, when the damsel gives you the finger?

You just wouldn’t let me be the hero.

I saw the trucks coming, the lights shining, the sirens announcing your departure.
I reluctantly came to watch them carry you out...naked, dirty and broken.
They ignored me...just like you did.

In the end, I couldn’t help you the way I thought I was supposed too.
I just watched them as they tried not to look at you.
Covering you with a flimsy blue paper blanket,
hauled off to nowhere, nobody to call and say you were leaving...
Nobody crying...just paid employees following you to the hospital.

I went back to mowing the weeds, picking up the garbage;
and in the end...in the mass of refuse...wondering it any of it really mattered to anyone else.

But in the conclusion of it all...I am glad the crabgrass is smaller;
the discarded carts are aligned neatly in a row and the trash is a little less littered. But most of all I am hopeful that at least one old dead man, knows that I remember his name.

-Eric Blauer 5.20.08


Anonymous said...

Well said Eric. I am struck by the anonymity of his existence and death, even more by his seeming ambivalence about both. His language implied he knew his end was near and his presence at Jacob's Well seemed to coincide with his deteriorating health. He tearfully requested prayer once, yet spurned any other attempt to get involved in his life. It's as though he felt like he'd waited too long to reach out for help. That it was too late. He did say something to me once that seems even more profound now in light of his absence: "I've lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years and seen a lot of change. Lot's of people and businesses have come and gone from this building, but this church continues to remain...."


Anonymous said...

I appreciate your heart and knew who you wrote this for in the first few sentences. It is always sad to loose a life... even more so when it is someone with such a hard - lonely - seemingly unfullfilled life...
Just as a bit of encouragement - think of how much more lonely and dark his life would have been with your presence. If nothing else, at least he spent his last weeks knowing the church was there and really cared about him... when he had no one else around to turn to...

Mel -