By Donna Clark RN, Director
He rides his bike into town every morning. A quiet man who does his best to remain invisible and succeeds at it very well. Most of the time, you would never notice him. Dressed in dark clothing, riding a dark bike and never making eye contact with strangers, he lives a fairly undisturbed life. However, he hears voices that haunt him and sometimes drive him to hide in the woods for lengths of time. He is a strong man but not one to look for trouble. If he is in a group of people and the emotions or volume level start to rise he will disappear. Lately he has done well thanks to his mental health care providers, a case manager from the Wicomico County Health Department, and his friends here at H.O.P.E., Inc.
A client of our agency since December 2010, he has delivered plenty of challenges to our doors. His ability to remember appointments and medications can at times become a big issue and he has been the recipient of heavy lectures from me about responsibilities. We have tried many tricks to help him remember but making him be aware that it is his job to take care of himself has worked well recently. His desire for love and companionship has created many problems as people took advantage of him and caused more issues for him mentally. Now, the love and devotion of a homeless dog has given him a sense of being needed and stable. When he shared with us that he had adopted the stray dog he said, “I’ve never been a Daddy before.” Our volunteer responded with “Well you are now Buddy!”
In our office he is comfortable and he shares stories of his life. His smile reaches from one side of his face to the other endearing him to all of our staff. If you mention fishing he beams from ear to ear and the conversation will get highly excited. One of our volunteers is also a fisherman and the tales get more interesting every time they are shared just as the size of the fish get bigger with each telling.
As we care for this gentle person I remember Christ’s words in John 13:34-35