Tuesday, 29 January 2008


It is time for reflection, of one sort or another. This moment of consideration, back and forth with thoughts.

Dig, it usually is, has discovered what I've been doing, creeping off with a bag of cheese sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper, late at night, down the road in all weathers, wind or rain, or both. Confession.

Every night for the last week or so I've left a bag of sandwiches, fruit and a carton of fruit juice hanging from the rusty railings outside the disused church. Inside the stone doorway to the church is a young man with mental health problems. I've inquired from those who know about these things, and been told, that this thin and lined young man has been thrown out of the hot-meal sanctuary because the voices in his head tell him what to do; at his last meal, throw darts at his fellow down-and-outs, taking aim with remarkable precision. And now he's sleeping in the entrance to the disused church, protected by a blanket and a grey sleeping bag. Now I don't particularly want to meet this young man, face-to-face, so I have conducted this sneaky late-at-night engagement: I leave the sandwiches when he is not there, and observe the empty bag, the next day, tied to the railings and flapping in the wind.

Well now I don't know whether the young man has gone or not. The empty flapping bag has gone, and so has the plastic yellow star someone had pinned up against the door on which there is a notice: Unsafe Building. Do Not Enter. And now in his absence, I feel guilty, because I probably did not do enough. And ashamed, because of being afraid. And knowing that not knowing what to do, is no excuse.

And if he is gone, I cannot leave sandwiches anymore.


Brad said...

You've brought tears to my eyes.

You did do something. You showed him someone cared. You showed him that there is hope. You took the time to help him in a way that was immediate, not a phone call to some goverment agency. There are so many souls out there like that young man, helping the ones we come across in our own lives is doing something very big.

I hope you see him around town. I'd be happy to hear so if you do.

dragon boy said...

you are a clearly a wonderful woman.

Lynn said...

Can I just say I aggree with both comments.
So many people would have walked by and ignored.I Hope I would do as much if I came across a similar situation.
What you did was to help out at a time of great need. A little hope can stop people from ending thier lives and perhaps your gesture did that for that unfortunate soul That's a pretty big thing.xx