We are dealing with people in crisis constantly. On Tuesday after Memorial Day, as I was doing my errands, people asked me how my long weekend was. I found the question absurd. I had planned a fun weekend with some yard work, and replace a window, go to a friend’s picnic, help Anthony install Ubuntu on his computer, go to the church picnic, and finish by delivering Anthony home while delivering some household goods to a fellow who recently moved off of the street. In other words, a fairly normal, weekend. Instead, Anthony and I, along with Alex and Ray worked all day Saturday moving a fellow out of his apartment who was going to be homeless shortly. Then Anthony, John, Ha, Carter & I went to the Communaute Positive banquet in Horsham, where I presented John Haggerty and Chantal & Joses St. Phard with awards. We met John’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law there. Sunday morning, we went to church. I got a terrible migraine. I took my Percocet and Ketorolac. I loaded up Greg’s remaining things at church into our car. After church and coffee hour, Anthony went back to the apartment with Greg to continue packing. He got a ride back to our place with Greg’s stuff in John’s truck on John’s way home from work. At 3:30 April and our grandsons came over for me to take a look at Aidan’s bicycle. He had a very adult experience. He could not make it do anything wrong when he took it to me to get it fixed, so I could do nothing.
Bright and early Monday, Serge, Alex, Anthony, Greg & I continued to work on the move. We took two trips back and forth between Souderton and Cheltenham with three vehicles. Then Anthony and I joined Bethann and Hilary and the rest at the church picnic. After the church picnic, I drove Anthony home to Philadelphia. I didn’t manage to get the stuff together for the other man who had moved off of the street. I was too exhausted to go there anyway. He lives on the extreme other end of Phila. from Anthony.
What I am trying to say is this is pretty much normal. I don’t just make soup and beans and rice on Thursday. (That does pretty much take all day on Thursday.) I am dealing with people in various stages of crisis all the time. To many of the people on the street, I am their pastor, like it or not. I never told them that’s what I was. I never introduce myself as such. That’s what they call me. That’s how they come to me. That’s how I serve them as well as I can. I have known some of them since 1985.
Ask me about Mother’s Day. The Thursday night before Mother’s Day, we were done serving food. A married couple whom I have known for several years and have helped on several occasions waited to speak with me. They are no longer homeless, but times are tight, so they come out to eat with us. We had gathered together some clothing for their one year old great nephew recently. They started by thanking me for that. Then they got real serious and said, “We have to talk.” Here their 14 year old special needs daughter was repeatedly raped by a fellow student at her school. The father of the boy was proud of his son for doing this. They wanted to know the answer to two questions. They go to an evangelical church and they had asked their pastor. Their pastor had told them, “I’m not equipped to answer these questions.”
The mom said to me, “Pastor Cranford, our daughter really wants to see this boy punished. My husband wants to kill the dad. The boy has been taken away and put in foster care, because the dad was openly bragging about what the son did. Because the boy is special needs, he will not be put in jail, but in a special, reform school to retrain him on what is right and wrong. They say my daughter has to decide on her own whether or not to press charges.” She was disappointed that he wouldn’t be punished. I told her that it sounded like a good solution. It would get the boy away from her. It would hopefully get him some help. It sounds like he had some terrible parenting, and that was a major part of the problem. “Vengeance is mine. I will repay, sayeth the Lord.” This sounded good to her.
The second question really blew my mind that a pastor said it was not in his area of expertise. This girl is really seeking the Lord in the midst of this terrible situation. (She waited for three or four weeks to tell her mom about the rapes because her mom had been hospitalized for a heart attack and she was afraid it would be too much for her.) She asked her pastor what Scripture she should read or meditate on in a situation like this. I thought for half a minute, then told her the first several Psalms from the Old Testament and the Gospels, especially the Sermon on the Mount from the New Testament.
But what do I know?