• JJ Flowers

Mother Teresa and A Man Named Ryan

I was writing about Mother Teresa, the story of her and Bono standing in a line of starving people at a refugee center. Bono says to Mother Teresa, "When I see this long line of starving people I see an indictment of the human race."

  Mother Teresa is surprised by this. "When I see these starving people, I see the face of Jesus."

  I've always felt this was so deep; that if we could only extend our compassion to everyone, how different the world would be. Yes, if I saw Jonpaul in the face of a homeless person, omg, I'd want to clean 'em up, feed 'em, help them in any way I could. 

That night I go to sleep and I wake at four thirty. I'm getting coffee and I notice the garage door is open. I cannot imagine how it was left open, how I didn't notice before I went to sleep. I go to the garage to close the door. 

There is a homeless man sleeping on the dogs' bed. I can't explain it, but I wasn't even surprised somehow and I was in no way afraid. I knew it was connected to writing about Mother Teresa, and my thoughts on my much loved son Jonpaul, who passed several years ago.

The man woke and began apologizing. "I'm sorry, ma'am.  I just ducked into get out of the rain." 

"Hey. No worries," I said. "You are welcome to sleep here. Go back to sleep."

He did and I got dressed, left a note for my mom so she wouldn't be afraid (Kurt, our roommate, was in SF)  and went to yoga. I returned three hours later and he is still sleeping. He wakes up.

 His name is Ryan. He is movie star handsome, and exactly Jonpaul's age if he were still alive. He seems mentally slow--talks slow and cautious. I ask, Ryan, are you on drugs?

No, he shook his head. "I'm never drink or take drugs."

Still, I think he is either on drugs or has mental problems, because it was as if he was moving under water. I ask if he needs to use the bathroom. No. Do you want coffee? No. He asks if I have any nicotine.  Well, he came to the right house. I give him a bunch. I ask how he got up here, because I have never seen a homeless person up here. He says he walked. I ask if I can help him in some way?  No, he says he is going to leave and I say okay.

So, he gathers his things and disappears, but I was thinking I wish I could help him in someway. A half hour later he comes back. He must had gone to the park to clean up. He asks politely for some toast.  Of course, I say. My mom gives him an orange and I fix HUGE breakfast: egg omelet and toast. He eats the whole thing. I said, "Ryan you are so FAMILIAR somehow. I feel like I am suppose to help you. Can I? Is there anything you need?"  

Shaking his head, he gives up a beautiful smile, thanks me for breakfast and disappears.

Ryan, proof that we are all mysteriously connected.

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