In my hometown we have a chap who probably qualifies as a “holy fool”. (Ps: Im not religious myself)
In using the term holy fool I harking back to the old meaning of the term, a person living a life without regard for day-to-day realities, devoted to prayer and meditation.
Our own holy fool is Barry Kelly, I first saw him at a set of traffic lights in the centre of town, he took off his thongs (flip-flops for you Americans) placed his knees on them (for padding) and began to pray. The lights changed and I drove off, I told the other half about it and we both had a laugh at the “crazy” man.
Then I began to see him walking along the main highway, covering large distances, sometimes praying, more often walking, head down, oblivious to the world around him.
Then something strange began to happen, instead of a figure of ridicule people began to feel protective of the bloke. I keep an eye out for him driving around, as do many others, its quite strange the effect seeing someone so “shamelessly” living their beliefs can have. There is already a facebook page, a newspaper article, what next a movie deal?
He has had abuse and objects thrown at him, and also had people stopping and giving him drinks, and in one case a local shop have him a high visibility vest.People have left money at the servo he stops at coffee for and nearly every person Ive spoken to about him is worried about his getting hit by traffic, rather than any “harm” hes causing.
Ill leave you with his own words from the newspaper interview.
“I just love walking and praying,” he said.
“There are so many bad things going on in the world to pray for, don’t you think?”