Friday, June 21, 2013


I just finished an hour's walk in the cool evening air. Half a kilometer from the Jesuit Center on my return trip, two men standing outside a car pulled me over to talk. An older man was sitting in the backseat and he simply forgot where he was going. He was very happy to see me and he kept calling me Walid or something like that. Walid is his son. Poor guy was so disoriented.

The two guys kept trying to reason with him so I just sat in the back seat with the man and started small talk. In fact, all my talk in Jordan is small talk because I can't communicate. I held his grocery bags for him while he calmed down and he held my hand gratefully. The two men kept trying to get a reasonable response out of him. I asked the men whether the man had a phone, or if he had his son's phone number, or a wallet that would list his address. The old man just smiled because he was not as frantic as the other men.

I think one of them was a taxi driver but the car was not marked. Instead of calming down the old man, I think I was there to calm down the others. After a while as the man wasn't coherent, I let myself be his son and I talked him into going home. I spoke about the landmarks that were in the Jebel Hussein area and asked him if he remembered walking with me past those places. He was responding well, but the two guys kept saying, "it isn't true." I let them know what I was doing in case it helped jog his memory. They couldn't see how that would work, but he was remembering some of the landmarks I mentioned. After a while, he said that it is time to go home now. I left the car and I hope he remembered. I would have stayed with him longer to make sure he had a place to stay. Poor guy. He seemed so serene.


  1. How beautifully you responded to that situation! You were truly the presence of Christ in the gentle manner that you were there for him.

    1. I hope it helped settle him down and not feel so alone.