Canadians, certainly Vancouverites, will likely recall the appalling story of the homeless panhandler who beat and robbed an elderly gentleman who had regularly given him some money, outside Holy Rosary Cathedral.
Here’s the extraordinary update on the story, courtesy of a newsletter from City in Focus:
I was struck by a story in the Vancouver Sun Editorial back in March. A drug crazed homeless man named Darcy, who had been on the streets since dropping out of school in grade 6, attacked and robbed a retired 81-year-old doctor. The attack was videotaped inside the Holy Rosary Cathedral, a downtown church. The victim was a kind gentleman who had often given money to Darcy, a vulnerable individual who was known by many in the congregation because he hung around the building
At this point the doctor and the church had a choice – they could direct their anger at Darcy (and justifiably so!). Prosecuting this chap would be met with great public agreement. The other option (and the one the church members took) was to channel their anger in to a search for understanding and ultimately a constructive way to help this person. They connected him with a Catholic transition home, Luke 15 House, located in Surrey. By the time of his court appearance, Darcy had been clean for 6 months and was preparing to join the church of the very member he had robbed.
Anger evolved in to courageous choices. The church community stepped up to offer forgiveness and aid to Darcy. But Darcy also had to make a choice to dwell or move forward. Coming from whatever place of pain and dysfunction he resided in, he had the courage to take the opportunity to become healthy and begin the road to “make things as they ought to be.”
It’s a perfect model for us as we face issues in 2009 where we are at a crossroads. Like Holy Rosary Cathedral we may need to choose forgiveness. While like Darcy, many of us may need help to move forward. Whatever our situation is, the important thing is that our anger is not just venting but indignation that propels us to courage. Our frustrations at how things are needs to be a mere stop-over, a motivation point for change.