What are the odds?
The other day, after writing and posting the tale of my friendship with Bill, who lived next door until last spring, I stopped at the bank, then went to the grocery store. There, I ran into my “late” former neighbor Sherri, whom I had not seen in years.
After catching up and together bewailing the decline of her old neighborhood, I asked about her cousin, Bill.
First I asked about Bill’s mother, whom he had reported had suffered a stroke. Sherri shook her head; his mother was fine and had never had a stroke. It turned out that most of Bill’s last conversation with me had been delusional, except the part about not being able to keep his house.
Apparently Bill had a worse drug problem than I thought.
She said that Bill, after moving out, had been pressured by his mom and dad to get straight. He resisted at first, but then relented. He entered a rehab program run by the Salvation Army in Columbus, where some of his eight brothers and sisters lived (apparently Bill was the only wayward child, and his siblings are stable and drug-free).
She told me that he is doing well, and that part of the program was regular work in a Salvation Army store, and that when he finished in two weeks he would be given full-time employment.
It probably does not pay well, but at least it’s regular work, in an environment where his progress, as well as his faith, will be encouraged: Bill, who was raised in a Christian home, has extensive knowledge of the Bible. Indeed, I have worked at various times with homeless people and with prisoners and I have never encountered a black person who was an atheist. They may exist, but I have never met one. And that does not mean that they have any easier time living the gospel or overcoming their sins than I do.
I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear this good news about Bill. I have prayed daily for him since I met him; first as a potential enemy, then eventually as a friend.
Apparently my dream that he was well was not just wishful thinking: Bill apparently has found his way.