Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What's up Doc?

And he will reply, 'I tell you, I don't know you or where you come from.Luke 13:27 

 They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you? Matthew 25:44

It's not too easy being Catholic. Or at least I have never found it so. Certainly, there is much to get used to in regards to the 'shall and shall not's' and hopefully over time that becomes more second nature, at least its the aim. But of course the real goal of the Catholic life is to be able to encounter Christ, not simply in the breaking of the bread- but in every person we meet. Imagine the person you like least in the world right now and you'll get an idea of how far off you actually are from genuine charity.

 There is a man in our town known affectionately by the name of Doc ( he used to be a dentist). He is suffering from some type of memory loss. He lives on the outskirts of the center of town, and walks everywhere, every day- no matter the weather. He is a friendly sort of man, and very active and busy. But I have noticed that for the most part he is invisible to the town that surrounds him. He moves from place to place and tries to start up conversations, but mostly get passed by, or politely ignored.

 But Doc has been zeroing in on me now for quite some time.If I am some place, so is he. I seem to see him everywhere I go.And here's the thing, he seems to see me all those times too. Its strange. If we are travelling in the car, and stop at the light in town, there he will be. And not only will he turn, but his eyes will lock-on to me and he'll smile or just stare back, and so will I.

 For a time, I thought it was simply my imagination. Then of course my kids started to notice it as well, and then Fred came right out and mentioned it too as it became more pronounced. A few weeks ago, he came into a full church during mass and tapped Fred on the arm and asked if he could move all the way over past the kids to sit in the row next... to me.

 I know that might actually sound a little creepy, but its not. Doc is sweet and very harmless. And every conversation we have pretty much goes the same way since he cannot remember anything I tell him from one meeting to the next. In fact he does not even know my name.

 I feel certain Jesus is trying to reach out to me in Doc. He would like me to be able to see past the mostly empty stare and find His love. He is trying to speak to me through this man and I know it, which makes each new encounter with Doc new and wonderful and scary all at once. Try to put yourself in my shoes for a minute in the supermarket tonight.I'll give you the lead in first: It had been a long rainy day cooped up in the house with the kids. Fred was a little on the late side getting home from work. We had supper and then I asked if he would accompany to the supermarket so I could get the supplies for the hot dog lunch I am running at the Co-op tomorrow. So we headed back out into a dark drizzle and chatted on the way, then shopped, and finally made our way to the check out line.

 About this time Doc appeared in the store. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye, but laid low. Within a few seconds Fred quietly mentioned "Doc's over there". I kept at my business of unloading the groceries and then heard Fred say "Up-there it is- he's spotted you!" and he gives a small chuckle. Sure enough when I looked up Doc is bee-lining it across the store for me. I smiled as he got closer wondering what he would ask me this time.(If it makes it easier replace the name Doc with Jesus in the conversation.)

 Hi Doc!

 Do you know me?

 Sure, I do.

 You do?

 Yes Doc I do.

 Where do you know me from?

 I know you from Church mostly, and also from around town.

 What church?

 St Josephs

 And do I know you?

 Yes Doc, you know me.

 I do- really?

 Yes you do.

 Hmmm? Whats your name?


 Ellie, and I know you from church?

 Yes you do.

 Will you be at church this weekend?

 Yes I'm planning on it

 And will I see you there?

 I hope so Doc.

 And you're my friend?


And we know each other?


 And will you remind me who you are, so that I remember you?

 Sure I will.

 (By this point I am heading for the door, but he calls out after me)

 Please don't forget to remind me who you are!

 I won't forget, Doc- promise.

 But it is not Doc I am thinking of as I wave goodbye and make my way to the car. It is Jesus. It is Jesus- in -Doc chatting with me, asking me questions, and trying to figure out who I am. And this always make me go home and wonder whether or not I really do know Jesus. And whether or not I really am his friend. And if I I do know Him from church and from around town. And I wonder if I really let Him know me too- or if I just smile politely and purposely fail to meet his gaze when he comes he comes looking for a friendly face? Does he melt into the crowd and disappear- or do we lock eyes? I think the answer is there of course too, that I don't really know him, - but maybe in time if I keep reminding him that we are friends- he might one day remember my name.

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