This fall and winter it’s been unusually cold and wet here in southern California. Tonight the weather forecasters predict that it will be 39 degrees…now that is just plain burr chilly burr especially for this southern California weather wimp!
As soon as I arrived home I turned on the heater and went to bring the bird feeders in for the night. As I entered our home the heat had just come on and I thanked God for our home, heat, running water and so much more. Then I started thinking what it must be like for those who are homeless. What do they do when it rains for 7 days straight like it did last week? What do they do on a cold night like this; where do they go?
Then my thoughts turned to my brother Patrick Henry Bunts who has been missing for a number of years now. He’s a troubled individual and has made some bad choices in his life and I don’t know what’s happened to him. Patrick’s actions and behavior lead me to believe that he may have substance abuse problems.
The last time I spoke with him it was probably about five of six years ago at Christmas. He called the assisted living place where my mother lived to wish her a Merry Christmas. Our conversation was brief…I wasn’t too keen about speaking to him because of his dishonesty towards a family member.
If I had known that was the last time I would speak to him what would I have said?
Our mother died a few years after that last conversation. When she died, I tried to contact my brother to no avail. He probably doesn’t even know she’s dead. Each year since then I’ve paid to do a background check to see if there is any information on his whereabouts. Thus far…the searches have come empty. They have lots of old data…but for the last four or five years there has been no information on where he lives or works.
I don’t know if he’s in prison or too drugged up to know night from day. Is he working and living under someone else’s name and identification? Is he still alive? I don’t know…but thoughts of him are never far from my mind.
If I made contact with him…I’m not sure what I would say. Part of me would want to hug him, tell him I love him and share the gospel message because he desperately needs it. There’s another part of me that would like to swat him right upside the head and yell, “What in the world were you thinking!”
When I encounter homeless people in the parking lot asking for money, I think of my brother. I wonder…is he doing that somewhere? If he is…what kind of people does he encounter? What are their responses to him? How would I respond if I didn’t know it was him? Would I buy him a meal? Would I talk with him or turn away?
When it’s a cold night like tonight…I think of Patrick and wonder where he is? Perhaps one day I’ll find out. Until then…I’ll wonder and continue to pray that God, who is not willing that any should perish, will bring someone along to share the Gospel message with my brother who is desperately lost. Lord willing he’s still alive and there’s still a chance.