It was dark and cold and a man in the river valley bushes was shouting gibberish at 9:00 Pm when Mark got home. So he put on his hiking headlamp, took tattered blankets from my closet, packed a lunch from his kitchen, tucked his cellphone in his pocket and went back out into the cold. He said he preferred to go alone. After all, he had a phone, and could run very fast if he needed to. The man he was seeking was in shouting distance from the house after all. He never saw the man, who preferred to remain hidden. He shone the light on himself and talked softly, and told the man he was leaving the bag with the food and blankets. The shouting stopped.
I had been thinking of calling the police for the past hour, knowing it was not quite the right thing to do, not knowing what to do if not that. The river valley is the sheltering place for many people like this. They are needy, dangerous maybe.
Mark shunned the church at age fifteen, limiting future attendance to funerals and family gatherings on Christmas Eve. Still I cannot help but think that Jesus would probably have been pleased.