I worry about The Marine sometimes.
He would scoff at me for that, so I’ve never made mention of it until now.
The news reports of 29-year-old Jaman Iseminger of Indianapolis, In. are a reminder to me that there is a real cost to serving others the way Jaman did, the way The Marine does.
Jaman, a pastor at Bethel Community Church, was reportedly shot and killed by a 49-year-old homeless woman on Saturday as he and others gathered to clean up a nearby cemetery. Something that many do routinely as part of the preparations leading into Memorial Day.
Those who knew him best say that Jaman “believed the church of Jesus Christ was not to be in these four walls, but to actually love the least of these.”
While others argue about how the Christian life ought to be exemplified, The Marine is out doing what others are arguing about.
I’ve witnessed The Marine’s faith in action.
The way he speaks with respect and honor to the fellow wearing fishnet hosiery and high heels.
The way he coddles the toddler of a teen.
The way he banters with the group of homeless men gathered around a coffee pot.
And I see it in the way the homeless respect him.
He is the real deal and they know it.
Still, I worry when I hear the reports that a homeless man that was drinking coffee the morning before has stabbed someone.
Homeless requires a certain mental toughness and a raw vulnerability.
Mostly it just requires that every other safety net in your life has been ripped wide open.
You become homeless because of a whole host of reasons, but you don’t become homeless because you prefer freezing your ass off or because you like sleeping on hard concrete in a pouring rain.
Living like that could turn most of us into wild-eyed loons.
It might make us act in ways we never imagined.
Not that any of us ever imagine we will be homeless.
And that’s part of the problem.
We might not admit it but there’s this small part of us that entertains the notion that homeless people are homeless because they aren’t as smart as the rest of us, who thus far have managed to escape the fate of the homeless.
The Marine doesn’t think like that.
He understands what most of us don’t.
He understands that the only thing separating “us” from “them” are the numbers in our cell phone.
We have people we can call when things go bad for us.
So he set out to become that person.
The one they can call.
No matter what.
He’s not trying to fix them.
His main agenda is to be a friend to the homeless.
Even if being that friend cost him his life.
The way it did Jaman Iseminger.
In order for love to win, somebody has to be willing to pay the cost.
That’s why I worry sometimes.
And pray often for Hugh Hollowell.