We have a client at the Rescue Mission that has had major head trauma. As a result he repeats things over and over. His internal monologue freely flows out without filters. His temper as a result of the trauma is explosive and can be set off by the littlest things. One day I told my boss he drives me nuts.
Every morning he is the first person up. I always hear him coming as he talks to himself down the hallway. I had been praying for God to change my attitude about him. As I have actively been taking time to talk to him and listen to him I have appreciated his sense of humor and the sweet caring side that he has in him. Strangely in the past few weeks things are different and I enjoy chatting with him when he isn’t talking to a wall or door.
This morning he began a fight with a client threatening him. They yelled at each other and I broke it up. When I pulled the client into the office and let him talk I almost giggled as he explained what he thought should happen. He wanted everyone to get kicked out of the program so that they could brawl in the streets. He explained they could fight until everyone was beaten into a bloody pulp. All I could think about was the old game Mortal Combat. The scene kept playing in my head and I had to fight off snickers.
Explaining that he was here for medical reasons and that he needed to rest and get better I said, “I want you to stay here and I don’t want you to fight.” He said, “You do?” We sat and talked for about 10 minutes more joking and it was so good to hear him laugh. He even helped me organize some things in the office. He promised me he would try harder to behave himself and went back to his room. I smiled as I listened to him chattering to himself all the way down the hall. God had helped me change my attitude and I genuinely do care about this client and his well being his talking doesn’t get to me. Just the other day as I bumped into a wall and said to myself, “I’m loosing my mind.” He replied, “I lost mine a long time ago.”
Shame on me for getting annoyed by his talking. How many times a day do we hash things out or shake our heads at ourselves and verbalize this out loud? Many times if you are like me. Who am I to get bugged by someone else’s harmless chatter to themselves.
A client said to me today, “I started truly living life when I came here, before that I was dead inside and out.” That is one of the basic pastor analogies that we tend to use and reuse. I have used this sort of statement before to talk about a life of sin and new life in Christ. But something struck me different about it today. This client was talking about a history of drug abuse. My life has never been plagued with addiction or dependency on things. But as I found out my ego was my biggest problem. I had no idea how puffed up I had become until the rug was pulled out from under me and my job and any income I had was taken away from me. God stripped away everything I had this past year. I gave away clothes I had to rely on friends at times for food and even my parents for a place to live. I thought I was living a great life and living it for God. It wasn’t until God took all the excess junk and knocked me on my bootie with no where to go but to him for help that I realized I hadn’t really been living. This job these clients are ways God daily God is working to teach me how to truly live. How great it is to begin truly living life.
Written March 13, 2010