Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Man Called Gregory

Back in our first years here, there was a neighbor, Gregory, who lived in a duplex on the next block. When he first moved in he would play his music LOUD. He had friends over a lot and they'd sit on the porch and listen to music from the big-ghetto blaster he had. Yes, this was in the days of ghetto-blasters.

When someone new moves in and right off the bat does something kind of disruptive, it puts you on guard. (It was probably only disruptive to me, others didn't pay any mind, I bet). Somehow, we became acquainted with Gregory and thought he was a nice guy.

Ok, so he and his friends drank a bit too much at times, but they meant no harm. It was just their way of relaxing.

Gregory was hard to understand, something in the way he spoke--his words were garbled. We had to listen real carefully to get the gist of what he was saying. As we got to know him, he told Victor "Man, we were scared of you at first."

Victor said "Of me?! Why?"

"Because you were in a suit and we didn't know what you were doing around here."
Just goes to show you never can tell.

Gregory, loved playing his loud music. One day I got the idea to get him some Gospel music. (If you can't beat 'em, join 'em) I had just read the book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Pastor Jim Cymbala and I really loved his church's music. The Brooklyn Tabernacle had a unique Gospel-y sound. I figured that if I got Gregory one of their CD's it would also encourage him to know of God's great love for him.

You do not know how much I got a kick out of hearing that CD shaking up our street!

We invited Gregory to church and he came with us a few times. I wish he could have fit in better. Surely, the church could have tried harder...

Victor found out a little about his past. He had spent time in prison. While he was inside, someone hit him on the head with a hammer a few times and that is why he couldn't speak well. It makes your heart break when you hear things like that.

I titled this post 'A Man Called Gregory' as a tribute to a neat book I read called 'A Man Called Norman' by Mike Adkins. It is about Mike's neighbor, Norman. Norman was made fun of and mistreated by the townsfolk. He was a different kind of a guy and couldn't relate to people and vice-versa. The part that I think of was when Mike, in reaching out to Norman, brought a used, but still very nice, men's suit over to Norm. He usually wore the same denim overalls everyday, but Mike had invited Norm to church and thought he should wear a suit.

Imagine Mike's surprise when he opened Norm's closet to put the suit in for him and saw all kinds of suits already there!

Mike realized that all of them were used and that people, well meaning, had given Norm their cast-off's. Right then, Mike sensed that the Lord wanted him to take Norm out and buy him a new suit. He had to give Norm his best. He had to love him for real.

I need to remember that story more often.

"Even though I speak in human and angelic language and have no love, I am as noisy brass or a clashing cymbal. And although I have the prophetic gift and see through every secret and through all that may be known, and have sufficient faith for the removal of mountains, but I have no love, I am nothing." I Cor 13:1-2


  1. Sweet story. I like that you have a compassionate heart for the lame, the halt and the funky. Everyone of us wants to be happy and struggles with life in an imperfect place. It's good to remember this when encountering people who on the outside seem so different from us and yet share 99.9999% of our DNA.

  2. I believe I am so deeply impressed and entirely in love with you and then I read this and realize it is way more.

    You are so very unique and unspeakably precious.

    -your husband