On this beautiful Saturday afternoon in a Houston suburb, where the the humidity was low and the dragonflies hummed lazily through the air. We heard a knock on the door.
My wife goes to answer the door, but I stop her. I have become more suspicious as of late. The world is a dangerous place. When I’m home, I intend to protect my family. Maybe that’s more for me than them, but that’s the way it is at The Man’s house. I got out of the comfy chair and go to the door. The man says, “Good Afternoon, sir. My name is…
Joe proceeds with his sales pitch on a “miracle cleaning solution”. He notices one of my rugrats peeking out behind me and says, “Oh. You have kids?” I cringe a little because I don’t like the fact that this stranger knows this much about me already.
Joe proceeds to tell me why he is there. It is not only to sell this miracle cleaning product (”It’s biodegradable.”, he tells me as he takes a taste of this product), but to tell me about his life as a crack/cocaine addict. Originally from Virginia, someone introduced him to the pipe and he became an addict for fifteen years. Until his son died and his brother tracked him to Atlanta to bring him to the funeral. Now you’ve got me…
You see, I’m more interested in stories than sales pitches. I told Joe right away that I was not going to buy the product. I told him that my family gives in a very disciplined and organized way. Besides, he wanted nearly $50 for this so-called “miracle” solution. He might as well have been selling Lemon Kool-Aid, I wasn’t buying it.
His story was interesting to me. After his family turned their backs on him due to his addiction, he left his wife and kids and found his way to Atlanta where he spent the last fifteen years as a day laborer. He told me that the nasty cycle would have him at the Home Depot (or some other pick -up spot) early in the morning, go out and do what ever work was available (raking leaves, painting, construction, picking up trash, etc.), get the cash and go buy his drugs. This would start all over again everyday for the last fifteen years. Until his son died.
That’s when his brother found him and brought him back to Virginia for his son’s funeral. He did not tell me how his son died and I did not ask. I did not want to contribute to his reliving the pain of seeing his son for the first time in fifteen years in a casket. This is when he said he knew he had to change his life. He knew he had to try to do something different than the trap that he found himself in. He put himself in to rehab. Which is where he found this program selling the “miracle cleaning solution.”
I am not sure about the credibility of the program that sells the “miracle” solution and got Joe off the street, but Joe’s story, if true, was fascinating, and not something that I am exposed to everyday. Joe told me that he has been clean for thirteen months. The program takes him and others out of the environment that traps them and they travel state to state selling the “miracle” solution and keeping them from the influences that drug them into their despairity.
I encouraged Joe to stay clean. I told him that if this program is working for him, then keep at it. He asked me how did I stay on the right path, and I asked him why did he assume that I was always on the “right path”. My “dirt” may not have been drugs, but dirt is still dirt. I did tell Joe that my reformation was a direct result of my becoming a Christ-follower. The rest has led me to become The Man that I am today.
I did not buy Joe’s Miracle Kool-Aid that was supposed to remove blood, wine, and other crud from our carpet, but I did give him $20 nonetheless. He may look at it as charity, but I look at it as payment for him sharing his story with me. Which I knew I would share with you today.
Thank you, Joe.