Tears streamed down Ruthann’s face as she covered him with a blanket outside the East Nashville Co-op. After recently getting out of the hospital, IV fluids were leaking on the ground and it was obvious he was in pain. “Leave me here; I want to die; God hates me,” were his repeated words; “Nobody cares; just get me some vodka.” Meanwhile, his best friend sat next to him threatening to slap some sense into him if he remained ignorant. “You know I care,” were his friend’s repeated words.
Just moments later the ambulance arrived on the scene and the paramedics recognized his face all too well. Obviously not phased by the event, their response as they loaded him in the vehicle was, “He never keeps his IV bag clean; he knows.”
It was as I watched the juxtaposition of Ruthann’s response with the reaction of the paramedics that I recognized myself in the shoes of the paramedics. There was a day when my heart would have been torn in two at the realization that someone could feel so alone--so worthless--that they would just as soon die and not clean a bag than live. But that day, I had simply written it off as a daily occurrence; something he had brought upon himself.
But don’t we all bring terrible things upon ourselves at different points of life? Isn’t that why we need community with each other and with God; to CONTINUALLY remind ourselves that life is not always as it seems?
So my prayer today is that we never give up; that we never stop hoping; that our hearts never stop breaking when confronted with the realities of life. Oh, to continually believe that God still makes himself known in the darkest of situations; that he is that best friend screaming at us to wake up from our alternate state of reality.
May we never be too blind to see what is before us and never too hardened to enter fully into the tensions of life.