Who was he?
What was his story?
What was he on?
What happened to him after?
The answer to all of these…I have no idea.
My oldest works in a local grocery store (this photo is the back of the building) just about a mile from our house. He shared with me the other night that someone came in and told the employees that a man was laying in the parking lot out back and it looked like an overdose. My son acted beautifully as he helped someone else for whom this was a triggering event and he was also the one who called 911. He also waited until the EMTs came and took the man to the hospital (who was alive when they took him away). And then…they all had to get back to work as if nothing happened. I’ve been praying for my son as he witnessed all of this and the weight that was upon him then and still there today. I am praying for him to continue to feel the deep compassion he felt for this man and not to move to an unfeeling place of cynicism but to continue in compassion and grace in the face of the pain of this world.
That all happened a few days ago. Early this morning, I walked through that same parking lot while out with Scout. I don’t know exactly where it this all took place but there’s no sign of what happened. But somewhere right around here, an unknown man with an unknown story overdosed and there’s no way of knowing what has happened to him the last few days.
I thought of that man as I read these two verses of Psalm 31 later this morning.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
I imagined how these could have been the words of this man pleading with God for relief and grace. I can only imagine the depth of the wounding he’s experienced in his life, the impossible weight of addiction coursing through his body, and feeling his strength failing as he laid there in that parking lot.
There’s not an answer to this. There’s no bow to wrap it up nicely. I am simply lifting this lament for this man and praying he finds relief, healing, and hope. And in doing so, lamenting for the countless others who are suffering in this way as well.