I sit in front of my computer and my heart is happy… because God is awesome.
In my previous blog (homeless hearts – Part 1) I mentioned aunty Maria the wonderful old lady that has warmed my heart and given me a deeper understanding of grace. Today she is in a shelter, enjoying a warm bed and watching some TV. How awesome is that!? It makes my heart happy to know that she is happy.
“Masculinity is an essence that is hard to articulate but that a boy naturally craves as he craves food and water.” John Eldredge, Wild at Heart
So begins my story of Piet Boonzaaier (Oom Piet as I know him). Never quite noticed his presence until one day he emerged from what seemed like a dark corner, slowly and softly. Don’t get me wrong he has always been around with aunt Maria, but his presence was just not noticed. It is this passive quietness that made me fall in love with this man. It was one morning, when I had been doing my routine pie and coffee breakfast run…handing out to every soul on the street I could feed on my tight bucks. On this particular morning my heart was so heavy, I was down and out actually. Felt like I was not worthy, ugly, dirty almost…when out of obscurity pops Oom Piet… in his typical (ek wil nie lastig wees nie) fashion he calls me aside and says ‘Kyk hier, ek het ‘n probleem, kan mevrou my help?’ to which he shows me the most horrific gush in his leg. Firstly I do not deal well with wounds…and this one was bad… really bad… what seemed to be a wound he got in the 80s due to car knocking him.He went to hospital everyday, but the walk was very far and painful. They also treated him very badly and made him not want to go back again. He was looking for someone to help him heal this wound or look at it. In that moment my mind was like ‘hell no!’… but God gently whispered…if not you , who else. In that moment I knew I could not disappoint Oom Piet, and that it must have taken him so much to put his pride aside and ask for my help. Not only was this an external wound but the wound in his heart was far worse than what the eye could see.
I assured him (provided he went to get his meds every Monday) I would help and walked away…that simple act of cleaning his wound killed me from the inside out. I bawled at the thought that his wound needed cleaning and I was not able to…willing to. For the most part I felt like I was staring right at my wound in my heart and how Jesus heals it all the time and how when it festers I can only turn to him…here I was a living example of Jesus and I was not willing to. It took me lost of courage to go back and tell him I would do so…eventually one of the younger ladies ‘Mieta’ offered to clean it every morning and evening if I could supply the needed things. I was happy to oblige.
As the weeks passed by I watched this introvert man blossom into quite the chatter box. Seeing his face light up every time he would see me…will be etched on my heart forever. The most defining moment for me must have been the time he went to hospital and went missing for a day… then I realized how much I have grown to love this old guy. Not knowing where to begin, what to say, not even knowing full details about this man… I ended up calling the hospital and eventually found him. Seeing his frown turn into a huge smile as I walked into the ward is the most amazing experience to date. He was so happy to see me, he even told the nurse that I was his family and I was the one taking care of him. That day my relationship with him changed… he was more open and able to share his life with me.
Turns out he was a construction worker… and moved here from Franschoek… a fatal death of the business owner left him jobless ever since… no money, no qualifications…eventually no home. Stripped of his pride, masculinity and essence of being a man. Imagine that…life taken from you…simply falling into obscurity. When I found him the first time, I could see that his life had been so drained that he did not even have the energy to leave the crate he sat on every day…let alone open his mouth to beg. Life had dealt him a blow so hard that he no longer bothered to gasp for air. He has shown me that God sees and he provides… God allowed me to see him…really see him. He mattered so much that God whispered in my ear… love him…help him… and care for him.
Psalm 10:14 – But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
[ Today as it stands…I found a social worker who is helping him get into a place to stay. They found his family after 20 years of abandonment, please help me pray for reconciliation to happen soon]
LIVE. LOVE. GOD
till next time 🙂