This Saturday, the kids and I took my brother Seth back to his home at Marbridge, after an overnight visit. Instead of just dropping him off, we stayed to play a little miniature golf on campus. It was unusually still, just an occasional person passing by from time, offering us friendly greetings. We got our balls and clubs out of the gym and walked over to the nine hole course.
I was just thinking about how perfect it was out there in the sun playing our private game with no one else around, when out walked a man I’ll call Kevin. He was probably close to my age, with a childlike endearing smile. He extended his hand which I shook and introduced myself. As I let go, I realized he had not been reaching to shake my hand, but to rub my nose. Seth scolded him and told him to go back inside. Kevin chose not to hear him, his eyes never left my nose; except to focus on the noses of my children. I held his right hand down and walked him to a bench encouraging him to watch us play. He walked along with me, smiling, mumbling back to me everything I said to him. For a moment, I thought he was going to let up, but as I got into position to putt, I saw that hand coming over my shoulder from behind. My son was trying his best not to laugh. Seth was getting more and more protective and finally went to alert the staff. Now with his right hand clasped in mine, his left hand rose up. We walked together with my arms wrapped around him in a hug, holding both of his hands. As we walked in the building, his eyes never left my nose. The other residents knew immediately what he was up to. I heard a few call out for him to leave our noses alone. The innocent smile never left his face, like a child watching Santa Claus climb out of the chimney. He continued to repeat everything I said in a barely audible mumble. He was not distracted until the staff member reached out and invited him to come to her. With a willing nose in sight, he marched on. We were able to finish our game without any other interruption.
On the way home, I thought about Kevin and his fervent determination. Kevin reminded me to “set my face.” May you also guard your focus against distractions.
The New Living Translation of Isaiah 50:7, “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have SET MY FACE LIKE A STONE, DETERMINED TO DO HIS WILL. And I know that I will triumph.”
There are many kind hearted residents at Marbridge who love and need attention. For information about volunteering at Marbridge in Austin, http://marbridge.org/.