There was a man laying face down on Abby's back porch on Saturday afternoon - I thought he was dead. I had walked out her door to find him laying below me, arms tucked under his body, head hidden in a baggy, blood-stained coat. He was missing a shoe. He was just lying on the porch. I shouted at him, trying to rouse him. I prodded his bare foot with my own foot but he didn't move. I was convinced that he was dead. We had only been inside for an hour. How does a man come and die on our porch without us noticing? Abby came next to me and together we stared at his back, eventually discerning (praise God) the slight rising and falling of a breathing man. We continued to shout "Hello!" to him, and he continued to lay in silence.
Our options were ambiguous at best. There was a good chance that his strange inability to awaken was a result of some form of intoxication - making him a potential danger, especially if it were drugs. There was also a chance that he was in a coma. More yelling, more noise-making, but no rousing. Should we leave food for him? Can we leave him? Should we call an ambulance, especially if he's in a drugged-out state? We called an ambulance.
They were able to wake him up: they tugged on his ears. Our poor friend was immensely intoxicated and had no idea how he got to the porch or where his shoe was. They took him to detox to spend the night; it appears that he was homeless.
The entire episode has left me with flagging questions: Did we do what was right? Were we taking care of the sick and clothing the naked? The ambulance fee was $1000, and since our unexpected guest caused the ruckus he would be charged (though in reality, the bill is probably a formality, being that the homeless can't usually pay for these things).
We felt strangely like failures as we watched the ambulance drive off. Where was the Gospel in this situation? Did we give in to fears? Were our fears okay? Our phone calls brought him to detox, but not on our money, and not on our time.
The medical workers and police officers were amused and casual: they do this type of thing many times a day.