More then a couple of times, has the thought of venturing out to his own hidden burrow, the abandoned warehouse only about a mile and a half away, tucked quietly among the many unused and discarded structures, laced through the warehouse district of the city, and as difficult as the trek though this blizzard might be, at least his bed of discarded paper’s and a couple of old blanket’s, sit’s invitingly inside, out of the wind, and somewhat enclosed enough to give him protection from the element’s.
Just as soon as the thought of venturing out to his protective harbor enter’s his head, it is quickly discarded, for the man who Angelo is with is to large, to disabled, and much to drunk for the smaller younger lad to even attempt to help a few step’s, let alone that distance. If he leave’s him, he surely will parish, even considering how difficult as it is to keep him awake right now. But more importantly then this consideration, is the conversation they are having.
The man, of which Angelo doesn’t even know the name, has alway’s been one to him self, very rarely if ever, open even to simple casual greeting’s, let alone any conversation’s. Not that Angelo converses with many, for since being nearly deaf from as early as he can remember, any attempt’s at speech, or the garbled sound’s he himself produces, presented as sorry an excuse of talk, as he is able, and is rarely understood by any, but even so, is usually ignored by almost everyone he has ever met, discarded as the mumblings of an idiot.
For some unknown, and yet unfathomable reason, this large drunk derelict of society today seem’s to understand him. And for the first time in Angelo’s long torturous short life, he has found himself not only talking to another individual, but the man is actually understanding him, he is even listening! No, I guess one could conclude that it would take an army to drag Angelo away. There is only one pertinent conversation topic, and Angelo was not going to waste it, at least while the man is still conscience.
Angelo say’s a soft prayer to himself for the right word’s, and in the most angelically garbled, and tattered symphonic way, he say’s;
“I know you have felt alone, discarded, unwanted, unloved, but I can tell you, never have you been, for there is a Father, who has loved and wanted you, even since you were a very small child, even before you were born, even unto the beginning of time.”
The larger man’s while not saying anything, the word’s are recognized to be heard and understood, by the small shaking sob’s Angelo feel’s against his chest, as he speaks and desperately tries to keep the man warm by holding him.
“It doesn’t matter what you have done, or what has been done to you, there is One who has paid the price with His own life, so all will be forgiven and forgotten, His name is Jesus.” Sob’s increasing.
“And He want’s so desperately to for you return to Him, you have alway’s been His child and you know it.” More of a statement, then a question, and all the larger man could manage now through the sob’s was a single strong head congested “Yes”.
“Remember, remember, when you were little,”
“when you were young, you knew, God was real,”
“before the pain, before the loneliness, you feel it?”
A garbled almost chocking sob..”yes..”
“You feel the love, the light, the warmth? Remember?”
“Yes, I do!” this time the word’s did managed to come out through his sob’s and sniffles.
“Jesus died for you, and if you believe this, asking Him into your heart, you will become His redeemed child, His son, and you will have everlasting life with Him.”
“You to will become pure, a clean new child again.”
“Do you want this?”
“Yes I do!” the man now sobbing almost uncontrollably in the arm’s of the smaller man.
“Will you pray with me?”
“Jesus, forgive me,”
“I believe you died for me, I ask you now to come into my heart,”
“lead me, help me, forgive me, take me your son,”
“hold me close, never let me go,”
“help me where I go, to never forget you and what you did for me.”
“help me tell other’s..”
Fingers and arm’s now frozen numb, the initial stinging beginning to be replaced by just the gentlest warmth, as Angelo fades into a different kind of sleep, a more peaceful, more permanent one. One he has longed for, almost from the moment he was born.
Memories materialize in his mind, images of light, and life, flashing in warm sequence across the soft summer breezes of his still mind’s ocean, they flash as another image almost rising, a gentle lifting feeling starts;
He suddenly appear’s walking through the park on a sunny summer’s day, a day not all that long ago in his past.
Engaged in his own thoughts, head down, perhaps more out of the embarrassment the condition of his dress present’s, or the tattered look the years of living on the streets, it’s cruel hand pummeling scars and driving deep crevices across the skin, now more looking like some long ago discarded leather boot, then the face of any conceivable child of God, he hardly sees the couple engaged in a heated discussion approaching, they move suddenly a step to the left and directly into his path.
Young angelo walk’s along softly mumbling to himself, speaking word’s only God can fathom, the intricate delicacies such sweet aroma’s play across the table of the King of the Universe. He delight’s in the word, even if Angelo can’t see it.
The ground pull’s him, it’s own cruel cold siren ever speaking a chill even into the very depth of Angelo’s bone’s; “Come lay down you dirty dead dog, nobody want’s you, for from the dust you have come, and to the dust you shall return.” Their cruel voices sometimes speaking in his head, even upon his earliest memories. As difficult as it may be even to him lately, the soft indistinguishable tongue cut’s through the many garbled and cruel voices, sometimes blasting in his ear. Many other’s he just ignores.
Not long ago, maybe just a heartbeat, yet perhaps a lifetime’s sentence in a coldest darkest dungeon, he remembers with but vague memory parent’s, and so named by the weakest definition; cruel, causing pain, being thrown around even as a very small boy, neglected, tormented, less then four, for no other reason then just announcing in the quietest sense, that he was there. So was the daily life of this very little boy.
Was it his mother’s lifestyle of crack induced prostitution, or perhaps his father’s alcohol drowned drug abuse that sentenced a small boy to a world of the deaf? Born with sever hearing impairment?, garbling the tongue to the point in which people will alway’s, and only see him as stupid, or was it some more sinister cause, dished out by the hands of those who were called to love him. He would never know.
Hard to tell when this all began, he sometimes pondered, because of the severe beating’s he would endure at the hand’s of the many people God had entrusted to bring care, and raise him, who only dealt him cruelty and contemptuous abandonment, even before the completion of the age of four, would culminate in the locking him up in a closet and leaving him to starve.
Was it a blessing or a curse, the landlord finding him only day’s before he would have died, for Child Protective Services, and the long string of abuse and torment he had to face, at the hand’s of the many foster homes that followed, were only in the slightest fraction better? The neglect, and torment was nearly unbearable, for many a day, did he pray to God to take him from this cruel world, only silence was the answer.
When he finally reached the age of eleven, courage finally outweighed risk of the unknown streets, and young deaf Angelo crawled out of his last foster parent’s window, and left, never to return.
Years later the wandering young vagabond, now a young adult, the child of the Living God with head turned to the ground softly mumbling to himself, to One in a very distinguishable tongue, only just starts to lift it, as he crashes into a woman. A couple also so engulfed in the conversation’s of their own need’s and desires, that watching where they are going, or even looking forward, would impose to much of an effort on their own want’s and need’s. The two collide, and she is thrown to her rear, hurting more her pride then anything on the backside, not so hard to the ground as her anger and disgusted response warrant’s.
Her repulsed gestures almost appearing to shake off the filth and stink in disgust, as she seem’s to imagine, just touching the young man, somehow made her dirtier then she already was. Her companion’s response was less restrained, grabbing the young street child, and first nearly lifting him from his feet in a violent shaking.
Any observer could have easily seen the hateful gleam across the smile of the woman’s partner as he seemed to actually enjoy his own dispense-ment’s of cruel indignation’s. He tosses the younger smaller man rather violently to the pavement, and then just stood over mockingly, as his own wife help’s herself from the ground.
To young Angelo, this was but one cruelty on a long life of almost daily abuse, for he never remembers the day, in his life, when he received in kind any loving gesture of even the slightest type. Picking himself painfully off the pavement, watching out of the side of his eye, for a sucker punch he almost expected to receive from the larger man, he flenches hard as the man makes a gesture to strike him, no strike come’s but a sinister laugh as he makes sport of the weaker man.
Angelo almost stumblingly raises to one knee, gather’s the precious track’s that spilled out of his pocket into the dirt and mud, the only few he had left, placing them tenderly back into their safe place a pocket close by his heart.
The larger man seeing them, begin’s immediately taunting; “Look honey, he is one of those filthy street preacher’s, that has nothing better to do then preach with one hand gripping his dirty little paper’s, and the other eager to pick the pocket’s of those who work for a living!”, he laughingly says with a cruel bullies sneer.
Then he violently kick’s at the last track just before Angelo has the chance to retrieve, sending it flying in a crumbled muddy ball, just missing the young boy’s hand against the cement; “Leave it in the garbage! Where you belong!” He spit’s at the young man’s face, as to not only accent his contempt, but to once more challenge him.
The brute’s wife takes him by the arm, “Come on, he’s not worth it.” Pulling him back into the direction and conversation she was interested in only moment’s before.
Angelo pick’s himself to his feet, wipes the spit off the side of his face, for he know’s many bigger then that one, who have thrown him around and spat at him. He start’s back on his journey, a bit more painfully, crossing the park to find a dumpster before it is to late to retrieve anything edible.
How long ago had that been when he received his own tract, that precious gift from God, with those few word’s he could but only just barely read, prompting him, no driving him, into a hunger that almost immediately unlocked the steel doors of his heart, and opened up his faith in the salvation of Jesus.
He can so clearly remember it, like it was yesterday, sitting, begging, head down, eyes closed, hand’s out, any penny, any nickel, just one less thing to steal, and someone put’s that Christian tract in his hand. How strange it was, had it been but a moment, before he recognized something different about what he felt, for in the same moment as he looked up, there was nobody even remotely close enough to hand it to him. It was almost like a miraculous appearance, that made him check his first inclining to crumple it and throw it at the person who gave it.
When he examined it, the writing, the Word’s; Jesus, love, light, faith, tenderness, care, all the thing’s he longed for his whole life, popped out at him from only those few word’s, and he knew that whatever, or however, he came into holding this right now, it was directly from the Hand of God, and was for him. He immediately believed! Than right there, and then, he decided he would never steal again, even to save his life, he would dedicate his life to somehow buying a Bible, and no matter how little money he made, he would use half for somehow producing similar tract’s and handing them out.
How difficult is collecting can’s and bottle’s, how many time’s to just have his day’s effort’s taken by larger, stronger, cruel hand’s. There was alway’s the dumpster’s, restaurant’s, grocery store’s, that threw away good’s that at least kept him alive. He never felt that taking from the garbage was stealing, but often wrestled with that assessment in his prayer time with God, especially when he would be chased off by store owner’s, often at the risk of even physical harm.
One time a restaurant owner even threw hot grease into the dumpster. Thank God, for the most part he missed, what did hit him already cooled enough to just mildly burn him, most just drenching his cloths. The irritation of the grease all over the only cloth’s he possessed, not only made his night’s so ridiculously cold and wet for almost a week, but made him smell so much worse then even he could stand, he ended up being sick for a week. Needless to say he never went back there.
Thank God his one original tract, the one he would take to the printer and copy, making others he would hand out, was undamaged. His little pocket Bible he held next to his skin, inside his shirt, was a little stained, but it didn’t diminish in any way, any of the pages he could read.
How he would just weep, as he would watch people take his tract’s just to tear them up and discard them. At least the people who threw them down or in the trash whole, he could immediately retrieve them, for people had no idea how many time’s he had gone without food, or even the simplest luxury those few dollar’s could buy him, if just a washing of cloth’s or a warm wash basin, for his hand’s and feet. That was of course when the laundry mat didn’t toss him out, which was most of the time, and case.
But somehow, some way, Angelo just accepted the fact that this was his life. He never asked God why, and didn’t even pray for revenge, restoration, or thing’s, and if anything just asked God, if He would allow him to just share, even if but with one person, that which he has found, the peace, the love, the end of loneliness he experienced, sometime, maybe one time in his life?
Funny how the mind can wander even as a person walk’s across the grass of a park. But also funny how we can remind ourselves all the hard time’s we have suffered, especially just after getting humiliated and thrown to the ground by the enemy, just because his wife, and he, can’t watch where they are going. Voices of anger, hurt, discouragement, unworthiness, start speaking to him, just inside the audible ear of his own mind.
He never mistook the voice of the enemy, it’s voice alway’s easy to recognize; “Why do you let that jerk do that to you, you should have cut him with that knife in your pocket.” “You see, your God doesn’t love you, why doesn’t He protect you, save you?” “It’s all a lie.” The voices, many sounding like the many men who have hurt him over the years, but some women’s as well, most of the time he just ignores them, to the point where he hardly hears them anymore. But right after he get’s hurt, right after the pain, the humiliation, their taunting comes in blaring!