Monday, December 17, 2007

When a stranger knocks

from w

Two nights ago Peceli and I were still up at 11.30 pm just yarning, when there was a tap tap tapping outside for about fifteen minutes. We dismissed it as something going on in the street, fire-crackers or something, then when it came again Peceli opened to front door to find a very thin young woman standing there. She said she was cold, couldn’t find her brother and wanted to have a drink of tea. Well, Peceli being who he is, said to come in. He turned on the heater, I made the tea, and the girl told us about herself. She lived about 2 k away in a flat by herself with a carer in the daytime as she can’t cook or read, but was looking for a brother who she hadn’t seen for ten years! Very strange. We realized she was intellectually handicapped but she did have a card that showed her address. Okay, we drove her home so she was safe from roaming the street. Well, I hope that was her current address!

We had been reading Psalm 146 as a devotion with our family visitors a bit earlier so realized that welcoming a stranger was part of that Psalm. Okay, we’ve done this lots of times over the years: a boy running from the police one Christmas and his name was Noel, a disorientated woman walking home after leaving a mental hospital, (she came six months later to thank us and she was beautifully dressed and alert) a boy who’d argued with his mother, a bleeding man who’d been in a fight – and the list goes on. The last one was handled by our eldest son (we were away) who gave the man coffee and an offer to phone the police but the man did not want the police to find his attacker. Etc.

Anyway back to this week’s story. Yesterday afternoon about 4 p.m. there was a knock on the door. The thin girl again. She wanted to visit us. Well, this time I wasn’t so hospitable. Peceli was resting after golf and our Fiji visitors were around. It was daytime not nearing midnight. I said to the girl, we are busy with visitors, come again another time. Well, the girl crossed the road, lay down on the grass and kicked her feet in the air, pulled half her clothing off. After her tantrum, she stood up and went on her way.

Now I’m not scared of most situations but I am wary of people who behave in unexpected ways. I have friends who have mental illnesses and they are on medication. Okay. We have members of our church with varying disabilities and that is the way to go – to be inclusive. But there are times when I have to say no to strangers knocking on the door because that girl might come time and time again and I could not handle that pressure.

I know that there have been times my life when I have imposed upon the kindness of friends, knocked on their doors and anticipated a welcome and hospitality. Certainly in Fiji I took it for granted that people would welcome me. Maybe they just had to put up with the jolly woman who took up their time. I have regrets now for being so selfish and inconsiderate. So, what is the right thing to do?


George said...

Interesting story, I probably would have let her in, but from my experience the older you get the less tolerant you become.

I suppose you also have to think about how much risk you are willing to bring into your home

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I don't know about becoming less tolerant as you age - in some ways we have become more tolerant as we learn the facts about disability etc. Your second point is valid certainly - that was my anxiety when she came back the next day and we had a young family in the house.

pikaki said...

Your story tells of how compassionate you are and have served people in need. With disability, their behavior is so unpredicatable and you did the right thing, and it appears that she does return home, otherwise they would keep her in a more restricted environment.Saying "NO" in some circumstances does not mean we love people less. Even our Heavenly Father and our Saviour sometimes say no to us when we pray for the wrong things.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Pikaki,
Peceli is more hospitable than me. I don't invite people for dinner as often as he does! Maybe it's the Pacific nature in a village to call out 'Mai kana' to everyone passing by!
Lately people have been so kind to us in unexpected ways - a gift of a lounge suite, a gift of a set of golf clubs, and so on. So we have to pass something on don't we?

Pandabonium said...

That's an uplifting post. Thanks.

I've helped people at times, but not invited any into my home. Perhaps that is the Fiji way.

There was a homeless veteran I used to see in the area from time to time who would sleep under some trees near the highway. I used to take him dinner when I'd see him there.

Pikaki said...

The best Christmas I've ever had in Sydney was when my youngest son invited 5 homeless youths for Christmas Lunch. These young people were from broken homes, and were on the streets. When they entered our home, the smell of their feet was so overpowering.We offered them shower, towels and clothes before we ate. One of the boys' feet was covered in sores due to wearing wet canvas shoes. We dressed his feet and we fed them first. Later when they left, we packed more food and clothing for them. We had our meals afterwards, but the joy of giving was more rewarding than the prepared food. They say that behind every successful man is a strong woman. I am sure that Peceli is able to keep that gift of giving and sharing is because he has a companion who is equally as compassionate. To me success has many meanings but when a man/woman can strive to be Charitable that to me, is the greatest measure of success anyone can aspire to because it's Christlike Love.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

That's a good story and there is a risk of stepping over our normal boundaries - the smelly feet - anyway you had presence of mind to offer a bath! What if he refused to bath? I admire the conductor/facilitator of the Choir of Hard Knocks - taking street people and forming a singing group. That must have been quite difficult a lot of the time.