As I saw him walking down the street, I finally understood the question he’d been asking over and over. He had asked for help. He needed that help now. So we had to help him. But who was he?
His name was Bill and he began attending the small church we served in the western suburbs of Ottawa. I still remember his first Sunday with us. He walked in looking fairly nervous. Then he would walk up to people and say, “Hi, my name is Bill, what’s your name?” Then he would ask people “what are you doing here?” Most responded “we’re here to go to church.” Then he’d ask a third question. “What do you do when you get lost?” That’s kind of an unusual question to ask someone you’ve never met before. But he circled the room and that question was asked of everyone.
Soon we realized Bill had some special needs. But we were very glad that he joined us that day. I will never forget Bill’s singing. It was loud, way off tune and often started before the worship leader. Yet people were so gracious to him. They all talked of how this was his way of worshipping. To the Lord’s ears, Bill made a joyful noise.
But after the service, he again started asking the question. “What do you do if you get lost?” So people answered “you ask for directions or you ask for help or you look at a map.” He would just nod and say okay and then go on. People began to clear out and Bill said his goodbyes. We were usually the last ones to leave. So we began our short drive home.
Just before we got home, we saw Bill wandering on the street next to our home. As I saw him walking down that street, I finally understood the question he’d asked about getting lost. He was obviously lost looking at houses and house numbers with a confused expression on his face.
We drove up to him. “Bill, are you lost?” “Yes, I’m lost. I don’t know what to do?” “Do you know the address of where you live Bill?” Then he pulled out a piece of paper with the address on it. His caregiver had provided this for him in case he would get lost. It was not far away. So we drove him there and dropped him off. He was so thankful to be found and brought home. From that time on, our little church family ensured that Bill would find his way to our church and back home after church to protect him from getting lost.