Early one December morning a sadly befuddled soul took a brick and beat a hole in our side door glass. The police responded to the alarm to find this man attempting to go to sleep on my office floor - no matter that the siren was blasting across the neighborhood. When I arrived, I saw the two pillows and my knitted shawl he had pulled down off a chair to make his bed. It was a pitiful scene. I was grateful to hear from the police officer that this man now in custody would go the mental health sector of our justice system, not the criminal courts. For while indeed he did damage to our door and enter our building, he had made no effort to steal or vandalize. Having been released from the hospital, he told the officers he just wanted to get in out of the cold. Clearly, he is in need more of care than jail time.
There are so many broken human beings in our city. People who for various reasons find themselves alone and cold, desperate, and irrational - not able to reason through behavior and its consequences. I ask you to pray for this person and all like him who are in need of help our current health and justice systems seem hard pressed to deliver.
Our wound will be repaired – a temporary repair already in place and the Church Insurance Company alerted to the damage. It is for us just glass and inconvenience.
For this person though it is more trauma upon whatever already clouds his mind and reason. Please pray that this man’s wounds be healed and that his life be made whole. And when you have prayed - advocate for better access to mental health care, shelter and affordable housing, and support for those broken in our city.
NAMI Virginia (National Alliance on Mental Health) is the local affiliate of the national organization providing support, education and advocacy around mental health issues. Their Advocacy page lists upcoming hearings and public policy issues around mental health.