Friday, August 21, 2009

Michael

Hey all,

Okay I am totally loosing it. I get movies from Netflix. This week I got Yes Man.
One small problem...I have already seen it.....TWICE.
My wife just shakes her head when it came in the mail and then proceeds to tell me the two times I have seen it.

I am reading this book BlackBird. You can always tell when I don't like a book when it takes me forever to read. Well I have been given a new book that I am excited about reading so I am trying to read this very bad book faster. I don't like not finishing a book so I plod through it thinking "this has just got to get better".
This book is about a girl that who lost her mother and her father remarried this other woman. The step mother favors her kids and is kind of mean to this girl, who is eight years old. Now what eight year old doesn't think that people aren't being fair to them? What eight year old doesn't think they were sent to their room for no reason at all. Now somehow this is suppose to be a National Bestseller. Oh and she thinks the dad works all the time and is never home. My kids say that about me....and I only work 4 days a week!!!
So I keep reading thinking something exciting is going to happen. But it is more of "I made my own pigtails and tied a pink ribbon around them to match the stripe on my shirt" and "I hate my step mother because she puts me on this stupid cross country team." YYYYAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

I want to talk to you about something that happened to me yesterday.
I am serious this stuff really happens. I don't know if things just happen to everyone and I don't hear about it but I think more stuff happens to me for some reason.
I swear I have dental stuff to talk about but things keep coming up that I think you should hear about.
Wednesday, I went out to my parking lot at the end of a tough day. It was about 4:45. When I walked up to my car there was a old clunker parked next to me with another states plates. I don't really think anything of different cars in my parking lot because we have a workman's comp. doctor's office next door to us. Our parking lot is next door to his is separated by about 10 yards of grass. Some people will park in our lot and walk over. No big deal.
But I walked up to my car and there was a guy sleeping in the reclined drivers seat. I startled him and he acted like he was going to start his car and leave. I told him I was sorry and that I didn't see him there. I told him if I knew he was there I would have been quieter. For all I knew he could have been waiting for someone in the doctor's office. No big deal. I didn't even think about it and I went home.

The next morning at 6:45 I pulled up to my spot and his car was still there. I could plainly see the same guy sleeping. I walked on past and went into the office.
Okay so there is a guy sleeping in car in my parking lot.

I then sat back in my office and contemplated my next move.
1) Do nothing.
2) Tell him that this was private property and that we are trying to run a business and he was going to have to leave.
3) Go to him and see if he needed anything.

Now this option is definitely the hardest.
#1 was looking so good at this point. I could start my day and never think about him again...he would eventually leave.
But I could not let this one die.
We had a lunch and learn on Tuesday and we had some sandwiches left over. I took a sandwich and put it with a napkin and a tube of mayo and mustard and put it in a Ziploc. I walked out there.
I have to tell you that this is pretty far out of my comfort zone. I usually am a guy that will throw money at a problem and hope that it goes away. I don't like to get my hands dirty.
I have always had this issue with homeless people. I guess I am a bit prejudice. I think they are either lazy or mentally handicapped in some way or drug addicts. So I usually look the other way (I am not saying this is right. But what I am doing is working through this) when I see homelessness.
So I walked out there and I just simply asked if everything was okay.

He then went on to tell me about how is wife is in the hospital for an ectopic pregnancy. This hospital is about 9 miles south of my office. He went on to say that his wife has a sister that is the town about 10 miles north of my office. And he said he was running out of gas and found this shaded spot.
I told him I thought he could use some food and gave him the sandwich. He lit up like a torch. We spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to have conversation with him shoving the sandwich in his mouth.
I don't know if his story was true or not. My first thought is that he was full of baloney but I told you I am working through this. What if, the off chance, his story is true.
He told me he has been trying to get odd jobs at the LaborForce place up the road.
I went back in the office and got $10 out of petty cash. I brought it back out to Michael (now homelessness has a name. For me it becomes not homelessness but one man that is homeless and he is right in front of me in my parking lot). I told him that this will help him a little.
He kept apologizing for being in my parking lot. I told him to not worry about that. I told him he is more than welcome to stay as long as he needs.
And he said that he was going to try to pick up some day work and that he would pay me back for this gift.
I assured him that the $10 was gift not a loan. I also told him that I would help him as much as I could. I reiterated how that he could stay as long as he wanted and that when I have lunch I will look out at my parking lot and that if he was still here I will bring him some lunch.
That was the end of our talk.
He left shortly after our conversation and I could hear his car squeaking and banging from inside my office as he drove out of the parking lot.
I couldn't stop thinking about Michael the rest of the day.
I was kind of in a funk. You know the funk that nags at you. You can't really have fun or laugh knowing Michael doesn't have gas to get 10 miles up the road. The nag that has you thinking to yourself, "do you think his story was legit?" or "should I have given him more food or money?". Tons of questions and thoughts swirling around in my mind.
It sucked.
I thought about our society in general or God's society. Why is there homelessness? I mean there was homelessness in Jesus' time and there is certainly some in our time.
Jesus' said there will always be the poor. But he also says we should feed the hungry.
All this stuff running through my head.
How am I suppose to have fun? How am I suppose to work? It is paralysing.

But I have to tell you I want to help but not at the expense of my comfort.
I like my air conditioning at about 71 degrees in the office. If it gets to about 74 I start to get uncomfortable and the air conditioning guy is going to be called.
I don't want my ride home to be interrupted. I like my house and the pool and my nice lawn. I don't want anything to come between me and my comfort. My electric bill is enough to feed Michael and about 10 of his friends for a month.
My thoughts always go to... why shouldn't I have this stuff. I have worked hard to get to where I am at and I work hard to keep it.
See what I mean about my attitude. I will help the Michael's of the world with my excess. The left over food that was free.
Is this what God has called us to do? NO.
Is it okay to be comfortable? I don't know.
Is it okay to have stuff? Yes
Is it okay to love your stuff? NO
Is it okay to buy your kids stuff? Yes
But all I am doing is teaching my kids to love stuff.
For crying out loud....it is just stuff.

All because this guy slept in my parking lot. My world, my comfortable little world has been upset.
Dang it. Can't I just be comfortable in my nice car going to my nice office only dealing with good looking people and then go home to my nice house. Why did Michael have to come and screw it up?

Have a great weekend.
john

3 comments:

sharpiemarker said...

Wow. It's funny that you just posted this story about the hungry, cause I just got done showering off all the sweaty work I did for Operation Sharehouse, the people who deliver those little bags of rice/TVP/veg/vitamins to everyone. Don't know if you have it in FL, but our university does it every year.

Just wanted to say, I think you did the right thing. I mean, this guy was just minding his own business, and not actively soliciting giveaways, and I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that a guy would just sit in a car for a day and a night just to get a sandwich, if he didn't really need it. You know? I guess I'm kinda validating his story a bit for yah.

I felt the same way today about how we have it so good off. I live in a dorm, and the worst thing I can complain about is a little pee on the toilet seats and the excessive moisture in our room. And today at my event, as we were carting HUGE bags of rice and TVP, one bag ripped and TVP came spewing out onto our nice gym floors. I had just seen a broom so I ran to get it, and thought about how nice and new our floors were. I mean, a bag of food that would feed hungry people just spewed, and I think about it getting ground into our nice shiny floors. I don't know, it just made me think.

sorry for the ramble. Oh, and I LOVE your blog. I am pre-dental, and would LOVE to go to DS, and reading about your dentistry is really fun for me. I know that gives me away as a total nerd, but... Thanks for blogging.

Susan Reel ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ said...

so.. God put someone in your path to help.. and you helped him.. :) and he might need Jesus and some more help! ? I'm here on your blog bec. I started looking for information about silver.. clicks later, somehow saw you and Hilda in a great photo in Napa ..clicked more and here I am.. Life is like that.. we're rowing sitting backwards into where God is taking us.. .Michaels boat ended up in your parking lot.. How EXCITING .. .

gatordmd said...

Sharpie,
Good stuff. When you say that you are a nerd do you mean someone that is passionate about helping people and passionate about teeth. Welcome to the club. You will make a great dentist some day.
Keep reading and commenting.
Thanks.

Susan.
Are you stalking me?
See you tomorrow.
john

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