Miska – The Good Samaritan
May 9, 2017
For the purpose of this story, Miska is using this name. She recently blessed us with a visit. She came to our log cabin home on Lake Pagosa at great expense to share her life and many stories. She started downloading her life beginning at age four. She is in her early sixties. She has never married, although being married was a very compelling desire for many years. She is able to accept her marital status as God’s plan for her life. She loves children and sees herself as their advocate and crusader whenever and wherever she can.
The bulk of her working life has been in social welfare, counseling and the justice system. She has seen a lot and is not averse to being a whistle blower when her sense of justice is provoked. She earned master’s degrees in social welfare and psychology.
Her physical and emotional wellbeing is fragile, but not as far as being God’s Good Samaritan. She helps the unlovely and unloved at the drop of a hat. She admits that in the process of being a Good Samaritan she has endangered her own life. She is no pushover. When it comes to push and shove, she knows when it is time to push. In fact, there were times she wore steel-tipped shoes to get her point across and protect herself.
I could go on and on, but will let Miska speak for herself via her story “Miska – The Good Samaritan.” I chose the title for her story not only because I see her as a woman of God but also because it is a fitting title for her story.
Thank you Miska. Your story has enlarged my heart. It has also sharpened my sword. I know it will enlarge many more hearts and sharpen more swords. It will also raise up many crusaders, those who love the unloved and unlovable. I am one of them.
The name Miska means "Gift of God".
I was out for a drive to Office Max and the wind was blustery and kicking up its heels. It was definitely not fun for anybody that had to walk the long stretch of open four-lane roads in the Big Box areas. I can't imagine one soul who wouldn't pity the poor person having to walk on two feet this day much less this guy who was walking with a walking cast on his left foot. I drove past him rather quickly with my mind focused on the tasks at hand. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed he was struggling as he walked, kicking at the ground while simultaneously, his arms were flailing in the air as his head was going up and down like one of those bobble head dolls. He had Tourettes Syndrome and that was just one of many illnesses that I was soon to find out that complicated this amazing man's soul.
I turned my car around and got out and gently asked this distressed man where he was going and would he like a ride. “Wal-Mart” and “Yes, Ma’am, I sure would appreciate a ride but I will go as far as you are going. I don't want to put you out.” “Well, my name is Miska and I'm glad to meet you and you're not putting me out. So, Wal-Mart it is!” “Good. My name is David. I am hoping my Father has money waiting for me at the store.” We take a short ride to Wally's and David asks if he can borrow my phone to call his Father to make sure there is money waiting for him at the store. As David talks to his Father, I am struck initially by the degree of respect with which speaks to his Father. He comes off so mature and sincere I wonder if he might be speaking to a Catholic Priest. David appears to be in his mid-thirties, with hair almost shaved to his scalp, and a muscular build that has withered away from lack of nutrients and food. He looks like he is probably homeless and hasn't even a backpack or sleeping bag to his name.
Suddenly, his countenance changes in a big way and he becomes volatile. He begins calling his Father, “Dad”. He lets loose with canon ball size “F” Bombs that seem to go on relentlessly. I can hear his Father volleying back first rational thoughts then caving to “F” Bombs himself. So much for “Father the Catholic Priest” and much more likely, David was laying on “the con-man's grease.” One thing is for sure, both Father and son were not hanging up or giving up power or control. The second thing is they were bonded together by love and by plenty of unhealthy long-term complications in their relationships. And of all things, there just happened to be a stubborn third party who was privy to this massive melt-down who was going to make it her business to try to help, which may or may not be a good thing for everyone involved including her.
So, I asked a very worn out and frustrated David if I could speak to his Father. I introduced myself and was received well by Michael. He wasn't going to give David money. David had been in jail six times in the last ten days and Michael had just had it! Furthermore, David was due in Court this afternoon on a 13year old warrant over a DWI. Michael believed it was going to be dismissed. Michael lived out on the East Coast with David's Mother. David lived in the Southwest where the family once resided during his childhood. He described David as having the following: paranoid schizophrenia; bi-polar disorder; autism; alcoholism; addiction to crystal meth; and had Tourettes Syndrome.
As I grew to know David this all seemed to pale in comparison to the fact that he lacked impulse control and literally did not know right from wrong. David was a walking, ticking, time bomb ready to go off any second and he did so quite frequently. Offending all types of people and jumping out of moving cars (specifically mine) was exhausting and exasperating and fear inducing until I had to give it over to the Lord. He was a sweet man whose life and death was clearly not in my control.
His Father had both short and long-term goals for David in the immediate future. Get David to Court, being the least intoxicated as possible, and then reward him with a cell phone so he could listen to music because it calmed him down since he was not on any medication. Then put David on a train to travel one state away where he generally lived on the streets homeless. There a woman named Rose, who had 50% Conservator ship over David (Michael had the other 50%), would contact a program that had set up an involuntary hold on him. This hold would place him in a hospital, rehab, and eventually in group home setting against his will. This train trip would last at least four hours where David would be unsupervised and un-medicated throughout the trip. I told Michael I would get David to Court but that I thought putting David on a train was dangerous not only for himself but for the other passengers. I said the plan wouldn't work out and more than likely he would be arrested and/or thrown off the train. Michael had a hard time listening to my thoughts.
Ponder not, lest Michael have some misconceived thoughts, yours truly managed to gravely raise the bar and outdo him and suggest that I should drive David two and a half hours to a state I had not been to since I was eight years old. And I am thirty years David's senior. Whoa is me! Now talk about needing a good, firm reality check. Yeah, I can without a doubt, say I wish the Lord had kicked me firmly in the tush for opening up my mouth with that brilliant idea. Problem is, once I commit I don't quit. And that could easily be a book about the perils of pride and so forth, I am sure.
Court came and went with its David drama. He managed to steal a 40oz beer right before. Then after a stern lecture he turned the beer into a steaming hot cup of coffee, a Sprite and 3 cigarettes right across the street from the Court House. Then more drama as he freaked everybody out in the waiting room. I talked to the Clerk of Courts and asked her to speak to the District Attorney about not sending him to rehab due to showing up intoxicated because he was en route to being committed in another state. The District Attorney winked at me, came back to David and said he was free to go. I spoke to the Bailiff and the Clerk of Courts who quashed his Court costs so he was not liable and off we went cell phone shopping.
David insisted on purchasing a Korean or Vietnamese cell phone which became such a nightmare that after four hours, we put it off until the next day. He came home with me and spent the night at my house. His Father, Michael, was so angry at David he called me up and said two sentences to me, “F David. I don't care about him anymore.” Click. It was somewhere along this time, that I began to believe that David came by some of his rage and arrogance honestly by modeling it after his Father. Later on, my opinions were confirmed.
The next morning David flew out of the house at 8am. At 10am his Father called and told me David was arrested and in jail for stealing a beer, 8 blocks from my house. It didn't seem to matter that he bought a 12 pack of beer the night before and 6 beers still were in the refrigerator. Nothing makes sense with David except the fact that nothing makes sense with David. Even the eye of a tornado is calm but David just evokes turbulence at least while he is not on his medication. I have to say I just felt such sorrow for David and I really, really wanted him to feel safe and loved even at my expense.
I must say this was really tough, a hard going at it. No peace my friend, just no peace to be had for awhile. You take a guy like David and he just needs love, lots of love. He doesn't deserve this. He is desperately sick. He doesn't realize it but he walks into a store intoxicated; he stinks – he hasn't had a bath or washed his clothes in months; he has Tourettes, so he acts and looks weird to others and hence draws attention to himself; he is impulsive; and all eyes are upon him; and then BAM drops the hammer for petty theft. It becomes an endless cycle and he becomes a “frequent flier” in the Department of Justice never staying long enough to get treatment. And worse, he makes other frequent flier friends and they hook up upon release and his circle of networking for acquiring unhealthy friendships and increased access to drugs just gets wider. David’s ill health is both cyclical and insidious as he circles down a never-ending drain without long-term intervention. The criminal and social welfare system does not include a loving God in the program of service for people like David who are constantly rebounding in and out of the system.
If any of my Christian friends which are many who just cannot wrap their minds around helping the homeless or the drug addicted were to read my experience with David, the above paragraph would be the one they extrapolate to prove why one shouldn't help them. They see David as just a dirty, dirty, immoral sinner. But all I see is a worthy sweet man who has more reason to sin than those of my friends that sit with me in church or break bread with me in communion.
The following day I tried to find David both at the city bus stop and at Wal-Mart where he phoned his Father he would be. He was elusive, so I spent 5 hours shopping for food, contacting his Conservator ship, Rose, mapping out our trip, and then using an old cell phone of mine and purchasing a month by month plan from Sprint using his Father’s money he wired to me so David could listen to music. I retired early to my house to relax and eat a TV dinner and to watch a funny comedy. Just when I was going to bed at 11:30pm., I heard the distinct pounding on the door by David. He was intoxicated and demanding to be fed. “I am hungry. I am sooo, so hungry. I have to eat. Can you feed me please!!” Soon his demands became incessant and he whined and cried like a 2-year-old child. I must admit the more petulant he became the angrier I became. I knew my bedtime was going to be put off for at least another hour and quite possibly more and as for tranquility, I felt that was out the window.
“Okay, you can have some bread and water and that is it!” “No, no, I want TV dinners!” “Look David, if I give you TV dinners they have to cook in the oven because I haven't bought a microwave yet. That means I have to stay up 45 minutes because you will pass out while they are cooking. And I don't want the house burning down – period!” We had a couple go a rounds of this and settled with his suggestion that he pay me $7 for 2 TV dinners. Normally, I wouldn't hear of such a thing but I'd had it; and his $7 just came from panhandling, so I really was at my wits end and caved in. Meanwhile, I am thinking, “Great job Miska, the Lord's really going to be pleased with this late hour handling of being a good Samaritan.” So, I preheated the oven, came back in 45 minutes only to realize I’d forgotten to put the TV dinner in the oven. When they were done, David was totally passed out and I could not arouse him. I put the food near the couch he was sleeping on, being careful he wouldn’t wake up and tip the dinners over. In the middle of the morning I awoke to hear him eating them and I dozed off back to sleep.
Bouncing out of bed a new morning has arrived and this is it! The day of departure – the day we leave to the adjoining state. Wa La, David is still in the house. My bags are packed and I am ready to go and I have been praying to the Lord for safety and security for both David and I. We get into the car with the usual amount of hassle. David has been telling me he will take the train if we don't make two stops. One stop has to be at the jail and the other stop has to be at the shelter where he has left his belongings in the state we are going too. David is not only a conman but he likes to hold people hostage as well. Today that is not going to work whether he realizes or not.
It is worth noting to pause and reset after the last sentence in the above paragraph. Because it is noteworthy on so many accounts: Miska is not so different than David because she in a sense is willing to out con a conman. She is herself a con-woman; she is driven, focused and on a mission just like David; Miska aims to get what she wants even perhaps to the exclusion of God; who is in the driver's seat, God or Miska or David? With all these good intentions is it even possible for a good result to come out of something that is so messy? The only way to find out is to read on and draw your own conclusions.
The drive to the next state is fairly smooth, however, each time we stop for food presents a hurdle because David wants to change the game-plan and hitchhike. We travel into town where we meet Rose who shows us to a motel which we share so I can keep my eye on David over night. It is around 7pm when Rose leaves stating she will return the next morning at 11am check-out because she does not like to get up early in the morning. I didn't say anything but that really didn't go over too well with me.
The night was horrendous as David left all night coming in and leaving at all hours. He apparently had gotten hold of some crystal meth and was hallucinating very badly. At one point, he was howling in the bathroom and laughing in a sinister manner. Then he sounded like he was tearing up the bathroom. Later I was to discover he wrote in pen on the bathroom walls, “I want to murder Anna Sexually murder Anna” (Anna was a hallucination of David’s). After I walked out of the bathroom I discovered David trying to steal out of my purse. I had hidden my purse under my blankets because I suspected he would try to steal from me that night. I confronted him even though he was out of his mind.
Daylight appeared and it seemed forever for Rose to come to pick up David. David was wound up so tight that as we went to go meet her, he tried to jump out of my moving car going 40 miles an hour. I pulled him back in thankfully. At one point David said, “F you” to me. In all the times that F Bombs were flying David never said “F you” to me. When he said that, he recoiled in his seat and his face looked awful as it contorted in a terrible fashion. He yelled, “No, no, not you. Never you. I am so sorry.” He started to cry and weep and said, “I love you. I love you!” I started to cry and we grabbed each other’s hand. I told him I loved him very much and I would miss him.
Right before we met Rose, David called his Father and begged him to turn over Rose's Conservator ship to me. He went on a long list of how he felt respected, treated fairly by me, and loved by me and how harsh Rose treated him. I felt sad for David as well as for Rose. She appeared in over her head but well intentioned. In the short time, I saw her she appeared really rude and out of line with David. Hers was not tough love but bordered on some form of squashing him at every turn. All in all, it is really not fair to speculate wholeheartedly on someone I barely know. I can say though that in my time with David I had many conversations with him building him up like you would a friend or a brother. I reinforced his good qualities and told him he was not a bad person. I felt that he heard negative things about himself over and over, so the very least I could do was help him reframe his identity of that of a good enough person who had unlimited potential. We had many back and forth conversations about him getting well and achieving goals and dreams when he was back on his medication. He welcomed these talks like a little boy with big expansive eyes. David was a person and a good person at that.
Alas, the journey was over or at least I thought it was. David was admitted to the hospital. Little was I to realize that for the next 3 weeks I would be an emotional basket case, crying at the drop of a hat. The journey was so rough. I, Miska, a seasoned career crisis counselor and social worker who had worked in jails, prisons, rehabs, hospitals, run homeless programs for Vets, and had my life threatened with knives and guns just went through a particular hell on my own terms, in my own way and substantially left Jesus my Lord and Savior out of the picture. Fortunately, He was there to patch me back up but it is a pain I shall not easily forget.
Oh, the sorrow of it all and the intensity of everything and the absorption of all the pain. I was isolated, working alone, no one to talk to; and my best Friend our Lord and Savior I didn't speak to nearly enough. It was a tough, silent war of the hearts never to be told until now. Never to be acknowledged until now and the truth of it all is, there are so, so, many more stories I could tell you and unburden myself with, that equals the pain of the one I told you above. I am just Miska, a person; don't judge me by my appearance or how I speak; I am just a child of God trying to do right by our Loving Savior.
Penned April 21, 2017 in “The Upper Room”
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All writings by Peter, the Lord's Scribe and Storyteller and all paintings by Rebekah, the Lord's artist are copyright free.