He was hard to ignore. The frazzled hair, mismatched shoes, and ragged shirt were just the beginning. His wandering walk, random in its left, right, forward or back movements reminded you of someone that could be drunk. In this case, from smell and behavior, I think it was a balance and eyesight problem. Best of all, he seemed to be having a fun conversation with an unseen companion. It was an amazing combination! Everyone was struck yet entertained in a strange kind of way. I watched for some time and then got on with my errand.
It is hard to forget the scene. As I replay it in my mind, I always end up with a smile and a puzzle. Was he ok? Should I have done something to help him?
The other question is haunting. Does God call us to be a misfit? Will the world see us as I saw him?
It seems that I am not the first to ask the misfit question. It is a familiar one for many who struggle with God’s call and the way the world measure success. One put it this way; “We’re something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We’re the Messiah’s misfits.” (1 Corinthians 4.10) And yet I believe in the call God gives us – the one of acting always with compassion, living with mercy, and believing in the redemption of anyone.
The other day was compelling. I along with many others had a smile. Many found the scene humorous. For a spell, he had our undivided attention. Will living out God’s call in the world today have a similar feel to it? Is there something about the process that makes it compelling and enduring?
It would be easy to write the individual off however it has been a while since I have seen someone as happy, carefree, and contented as the wild man on the street. He seems to have found something that we have lost or never had. He might seem crazy; he could also have something priceless.