You’re the only person I trust
At first glance, the park seems quiet. I look again and notice a group of men in matching blue shirts arguing with a group of homeless people. I wonder if it’s a church group assuming people living in the park don’t know the good news of Jesus. I keep moving and run into Isaac. He’s been barred from the church across the street and is upset. “They said I was using drugs on their property. Now I can’t sleep in their shelter or eat the free breakfast.” We talk about his drug use and his desire to be clean. “I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. If I go to treatment and relapse, then that would disappoint everyone trying to help me.” I offer my sage wisdom and declare the goodness of trying. “It takes an average of seven times for people with substance abuse disorders to be free of addiction.” He believes that meth works like Ritalin did when he was a kid. His grandmother kept increasing his dosage until he left home at fourteen. “Boom keeps me focused and alert.” We talk about his family. How alcohol destroyed his parents. How funny and wise his tribal ancestors were.
The people who live in the condominiums around the park where Isaac sleeps are being confrontational, accusing him of stealing. They have been videotaping him and his friends. Lots of yelling. “They are always threating me and act like they don’t get high or drunk in their homes.” People from all lifestyles like to justify their addictions by scapegoating other addicts. Saying things like “At least I don’t smoke crack. I don’t shoot up and I never sold myself. I just have a few glasses of chardonnay after tennis with my book club.”
Isaac remembers his prescription for a skin infection is waiting for him to pick up, but he doesn’t have the money to pay for it. “I woke up with this huge ass spider bite on my leg. Maybe it was a family of spiders having a feast.” I offer to cover the prescription cost, and he accepts. Fifty-eight dollars seems like a small price to pay for abscess-free legs. We walk back from the drugstore to his pile of belongings and hug. “Thanks Mike, you’re the only person I can trust.” I leave, hoping Isaac takes his medicine. I am fearful that his leg will get infected and need to be amputated. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, ESV)