Entertaining strangers

My youngest son Thomas, who is 19, has been coming over in the evenings to keep me company while my husband was out of town this past week for job training.  We live out in the countryside and our nearest neighbors can hardly be seen through the trees, even in the winter.  It’s beautiful where I live, but somewhat isolated.

On Wednesday night Thomas and I had a “visitor” knock on our door.  It was around 8:30 and a bit late for anyone to be coming by.  It was concerning because we hardly ever have company and certainly not that late in the evening.   We decided to take precautions, so Thomas grabbed my husband’s handgun and followed me downstairs.

There are two full length narrow sidelight windows on either side of the front door enabling us to see quite clearly a strange man on our porch.  He had a Mohawk type haircut and tattoos running up his either side of his neck to his ears and was dressed in a basic heavy green jacket and gray khaki-like pants.  He didn’t have a shirt on.  His body was shaking and he had a terrified look on his face.  He saw us through the windows and we could hear him begging us through the door to let him in, that he was freezing.  I didn’t doubt it as the temperature was hovering around zero.

My son was instantly telling me to let him in.  I’m like “No way!  We don’t know who this guy is or what he wants.”  I’m thinking he’s a criminal and he’s just attempting to get inside so he could do who knows what.  I look back out at him, and I weaken because he looks like he’s about to cry.  I know he is truly freezing out there.  So, very foolishly, I open the door a crack.  He begs me to let him in.  He said that he woke up in the woods, and doesn’t know what happened to him.  He says he wasn’t drinking or doing drugs.  That statement sent up a red flag, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt.  He claims he just wants to warm up, and to see if we could call someone to come get him.

Thomas, in the meantime, is quietly hounding me in the background, to let him in.  I’m looking back at him and shaking my head.  He says, “Mom! The guy is freezing!  I have my gun.  Nothing will happen.”  So, against my better judgment, I let him into my house.   I tell him to sit down on the bench, which he does immediately, and asks for five glasses of water.  Not sure why that specific number.  Thomas reassures me he will be okay alone with this guy, so I run upstairs and get a glass of water, and the phone.

Downstairs again, I give the guy the water and ask who he wants me to call.  He gives me the number of the “mother of his kid.”  That ends up being a dead end as the woman says she’s not driving 45 miles from town to get this guy who has no idea how he got out here and ended up in the woods.  Apparently, there’s no love lost between the two.

All the while, he’s very fidgety.  I’m very nervous.  Thomas tells him we need to call an ambulance so they can check him out for frostbite.   He agrees.  (Even if he didn’t agree, I was still calling 911.)  So, I call and I’m patched through to the state troopers when I tell them about our “visitor.”  They immediately dispatch a trooper to our house, but I’m kept on the phone for the next excruciating amount of time (about ten to fifteen minutes) until the trooper finally arrives.

The trooper comes inside and talks to the guy, pats him down, and finally takes him out to his car.  He comes back in a couple minutes later and asks us a few questions.  He says that the guy had been high on heroine or some other similar type of drug, (at the tail end of his high, I believe) and that we should not have let him in.  Both Thomas and I tell him that we just didn’t feel right about letting him stay out in the cold.  He said, “well, don’t do it again.  Just call the cops should something like this ever happen again.”  The trooper who I had been talking to on the phone said the same thing.  For the record, I never would have let him in if I had been by myself.  Or if we hadn’t been armed.

After they left, Thomas and I looked him up online in the court system and found out that yes, this guy was definitely a criminal.  He had multiple counts of theft, writing fraudulent checks, drug possession and drug use, and assault! and numerous other things.  Not a good guy.  I was sick to my stomach.

Thomas and I talked a long time about it.  I told him we should never have let him in our house.  Any number of things could have gone wrong.  His reply to me was, “But mom, you know it was the right thing to do.  He needed help.”

And all I could see in my mind was the scared look on that guy’s face.

My son was right.  The man needed help.  As scary and foolish as it was, I know we did the right thing.  All I could think of was that he is somebody’s son, some little kid’s father, a lost soul needing Jesus, and maybe, by opening our door to him, he will come to realize that someone does care about his well-being, even if they are complete strangers.  I am praying that whatever he experienced upon waking up out in the woods has a profound effect on him.  That, hopefully, he has hit rock bottom, and is ready to climb out of the pit to reach for Jesus.

I believe things like this just don’t happen randomly.  I think that God orchestrated this meeting between that man and me and my son.  I don’t know if it was for the benefit of one of us in particular, or for all three of us.

I’m not sure how it affected my son, but I know it affected me in several different ways.  For one thing, I was forced to look beyond that tattooed covered body to the lost and hurting soul beneath.

Secondly, having my safe haven, my home invaded left me feeling vulnerable.  It also made me realize that four walls and a locked door may not be able to keep me safe, but that it is vital that put all my trust in Jesus.

Thirdly, I saw the man that my son is becoming and yes, I am proud of him.  He has a keenly strong sense of right and wrong.  There is no gray with him, only black and white.  He is kind, compassionate, and sensitive.  He sees things differently than most people, which is one of the many things I love about him.  God created a very unique person when he created Thomas, and I’m blessed to have him in my life.

It was definitely an eye-opening experience.  I don’t particularly want to go through anything like that again, but I suppose I may not have a choice, especially if it’s something that God allows.


5 thoughts on “Entertaining strangers

  1. paul the slave March 18, 2015 / 7:21 AM

    Pretty cool story, Nina! I read the story to my family (three boys and my girl). My wife was wide-eyed as well. Yes, you never know when you might be entertaining angels. In this case, he was a lost and tormented soul, but how many times do we pass up the opportunity to minister to an angel?

    Thanks for the reminder and hope you don’t mind me sharing it on my blog.


  2. Marianne March 21, 2015 / 12:57 AM

    wonderful story, and thought provoking…..what would we do if this happened to us? I think the police suggestion was a good one, to just call them. but during this experience, God was with you anyhow, so you were ok


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