My dad made a friend a few years ago, when he retired. My dad's friend is 'agoraphobic.' That means he is afraid of public places, and is confined to his home. My dad visits him, brings him cigarettes and soda, talks with him. It is through this organization called Compeer that helps find friends for people with mental illness. The man is very interesting, too. He used to be a screenwriter in Hollywood before his illness got the best of him. He looks like a mad scientist, but is very nice, if not a bit nervous.
My dad is not big on public service, especially while he was working and busy with us boys and my mom. But this is one thing he has done that I am particularly proud of. Because my dad suffers from mental illness as well, he can relate to his friend. I don't even put the word 'friend' in quotes, because it is not like some token thing...my dad really has gotten out of himself and engaged himself in the life of another. It is genuine, and I am proud of my dad for taking the time to care...making a difference in the life of just one person. This man has said to my dad, "Bob, you are my only friend." That is very special. Even though it is just one person, it is fully engaged, and my dad is committed to this man, and is proud to call him a friend, not because he is "doing" something, but because he is 'being' someone--himself. I think these are the kinds of things God wants us to do, and God does not forget such things, and I hope when my dad dies, as he eventually will, that God will remember him and this little thing and welcome him home.