Sunday, May 16, 2004

What do you want it for? 

Another Sunday, another visit from Ricky. I was prepared for him today, or at least I thought. I had packed my lunch, since there was a church council meeting after service, and I packed a second sandwich for him. I also brought along bus and meal tickets, in case he asked for those staples of street life. Of course, then he didn't show up... at least until mid-service. Quite noisily. He's apparently never learned the graces of middle-class church etiquette. The anarchist in me is delighted when such disruptions occur. My traditionalist persona is appalled. He wasn't so bad today--at least until he walked forward during the post-service announcements to hit the pastor up for cash. Today Ricky wanted to replenish his coffee supply. He only had need of a couple bucks, so I (foolishly?) once again took him over to the Red Apple to buy a new jar. Of course, he started perusing the sunglasses. (He was looking for reading glasses--something he does need.) When I steered him to the coffee aisle, he started looking at the larger cans of coffee. On another day I might have been inclined to buy that for him, but since he started with a request for the $3 jar, I kept him to that. He also started talking about buying cigarettes which is a line I won't cross again. Anyway, we then went back to church where he relieved me of the sandwhich and a bus ticket. He didn't stay for the council meeting. Pity. We've been looking for someone to serve as stewardship chairman.

I suppose I should put some serious thought as to how to guide this new relationship. I know playing cash machine doesn't do anyone any good. If I was a good evangelist, I would be worrying more about his spiritual well-being. Unfortunately, I'm not a good evangelist and when Ricky comes on like the force of nature he is, my attention is naturally caught up in the agenda he sets. Sometimes I wish I had all the money in the world and no inhibitions as to spending it. I'd love to see what he (or any other panhandler) would do if I put a thousand dollars in his hand. I'd like to think he wouldn't ask for $1001....