Robert is one of our most faithful parishioners at the Triune Mercy Center — both in church and in the art room. He was living on the street when we met, but he’s been housed since 2012 — when our first social worker recognized a condition that could get him qualified for disability. He’s been doing beautifully ever since, keeping an immaculate house and participating actively in the art room.
At last spring’s art auction at the Hyatt Regency, he and professional artist Judy Zeimer contributed a vinyl floor mat with a stunning painting of fish. It sold for several hundred dollars.
But beyond his paintings, Robert contributes wisdom. We call his pronouncements “Robert-isms,” and our volunteers keep a running commentary taped to the art room door.
Here are a few:
* You think backwards, you go backwards.
* It doesn’t get done looking at it.
* God takes a bad situation and makes it into a message.
* A half truth is a whole lie.
* Listen with your eyes and see with your ears.
* If you stay ready, you’re always ready.
* People with money have got no time. People with no money have got nothing but time.
* If it starts with a lie, it ends with a lie.
* You learn a lot by just being quiet.
Robert doesn’t talk to me a lot. He ducks his head and politely murmurs “Pastor Deb” when we pass.
So I was surprised when, on the night of the auction, he stopped me and made a point of speaking. “I just want you know how glad I am to have Triune to come to,” he said.
Then he bowed his head, and walked off.
Occasionally, I learn a lot by just being quiet.