Sunday, April 27, 2008

He kissed me--Croc guy - Part 2

The guy with the Croc obsession is back. This is the guy who, when he sees my crocs, yells, "What beautiful shoes!" and then tries to slip his foot into them while I'm wearing them. I ran into him in the business district of town. I was waiting to cross the street and he was standing next to me. The intersection is huge, with five streets intersecting and hundreds of cars and busses. When I saw him, I immediately looked down to see what shoes I was wearing. They were tennis shoes that he couldn't slip into. He was wearing slip on loafers that he'd cut off in the back, to make them like clogs (or Crocs). I'd been thinking about him since our last encounter. He walks miles upon miles, aimlessly, every day. He is a small, thin man with prematurely gray hair and the voice of a child. He is mentally challenged, innocent and possibly gay. I tried to think of what Jesus would do with a mentally challenged guy who kept trying to put on His sandals and I concluded that Jesus would not be afraid of him or treat him with indifference. So, I greeted him. His name is Renato and our conversation went like this:

I said, “Hi.”

He said, “Ohhhhhh, what beautiful glasses!”

“What's your name?”


“My name is Bill. It's nice to meet you.”

It was clear that he had no idea who I was, or that he'd tried to climb into my shoes twice before. I extended my hand to shake his hand. He grabbed my hand and shook it eagerly, saying, “Thank you! Thank you! It’s nice to meet you too.” Then he kissed my hand and, before I knew what was happening, he kissed my cheek. I spoke to him firmly, as though I were speaking to a child and said, “No kisses, Renato!”

I tried to ask him where he lived, because I've seen him all over town. But, at my level of Spanish, I make a lot of mistakes. So, rather than ask “where” he lived, I asked “how.” I laughed inwardly, because I really was asking within, "How do you survive?"

He answered, “With my Mother and brothers.”

I asked, “So, do you just walk on the street all day long, every day?”


Then he looked at me and said, “You’re face is so beautiful…you look like Jesus!”

The street light changed and we began to cross the street. I said, “Thanks. Jesus and I have a really close relationship and I like looking like him on the outside, but I’m more interested in looking like Jesus in my soul.”

He stared at me, like a person trying to see through a window and said, “The Spirit of God is all over you!”

I said, “Yes, Renato, I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?”

He replied, “Oh yes! I take Jesus in every day” and made the motions of a person taking communion. He was wearing a blue, plastic rosary like a necklace.

He said, “Where are you from?”

I replied, “The United States.”

He said, “The Papá (the pope) is there!”

“Yes,” I said, “he was, though I think he’s back in Italy now.”

At this point, we were standing in the middle of the cross walk, where he had stopped. We were in that space on the street between two opposing directions. It was clear that Renato had to go in another direction. I said, “I want to pray for you. May I?”

He said, “Oh yes!”

I had no idea what to pray for. I wondered, “Is he just mentally challenged or are demonic forces at work in his life?” I decided it was too soon, too public, and too in-the-middle-of-the-street to cast demons out of him. So, I prayed for God’s blessing in his life and for total healing of his body, mind and soul in the name of Jesus.

He was extremely grateful. He shook my hand and kissed it two or three times. He tried to kiss my cheek, but I held him back and said, “No kisses, Renato! No kisses!”

Then he asked, “Can I kiss your feet?”

I held him back and said, “No kisses!”

After that, he stepped into a river of people flowing down the side walk and I don’t know where he went. I do know that God loves him and (mentally challenged or not) God has a plan for his life. When I see him again, I will try to continue the conversation.


Ruth Chowdhury said...

Bill, that is amazing & what a blessing he turned out being. What a challenging word - to be Jesus to everyone, whether we feel like it or not & whether or not we think they're "crazy". Jesus DOES love us all. Thank you for a wonderful post. We miss you!!

Rob Amend said...

What a beautiful story Bill--you've made my day. I hope I look like Jesus today, too!

00 said...

Great story :-) I laughed many times, and held back tears many times as well. I pray that you run into him again, and that he remembers "no kisses!" ;-)