Ed is a Kansas City Chiefs fan known as Helmet Man.
For years, he has been attending Chiefs games. He paints his face and runs around the stadium banging a drum.
He is a very visible character indeed. The Chiefs has a team of cheer leaders, but Helmet Man is king of cheer at the Chiefs' games.
Actually, he was the king of cheer. The team told him to leave and never return when they found out his name was not Ed.
It was actually Wahed Moharam. The U.S. Marshals Service gave him the name of Ted when he entered the witness relocation program ten years ago.
He testified for the government in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial. In return for helping the government, he was forced to leave behind a daughter, a limousine business and a home in New Jersey.
He lost everything including his own identity. Weary from hiding out in town to town, Wahed decided to regain his identity by hiding in plain site.
He overcame a potentially debilitating dose of paranoia by facing the entire world and making a
spectacle of himself. After learning his true identity, the Chiefs asked him to leave because they feared his past enemies
might harm their fans.
Everyday, people live in fear of heights, crowds, water, enclosed spaces, spiders and flying. These phobias are difficult, if not impossible for some to overcome. Paranoia is a whole different ball of wax to deal with, especially when they are out to get you. Many fears are psychosomatic and the best way to deal with them is to face them head on. Wahed is an unusual man. Rather than hide the rest of his life, he decided to face the anonymous crowds and make them take notice. You might say he danced with his own death. What Wahed did was not easy. In fact, it was probably one of the most difficult things he has ever done in his life. His life was taken from him and in spite of very real opposition, he took it back.
To be honest, I am somewhat claustrophobic. I can't stand being trapped in tight spaces but I am at peace with that fear. I feel no need to sleep in a coffin, wedge myself into a drain pipe or sit in a jail cell. A close friend told me the phobia was completely illogical and I agreed. He was surprised that I offered no resistance to his viewpoint. It is something that I can live with. I have no need to overcome it because it doesn't get in the way. It doesn't change the way I live. I was stuck in an elevator once for over an hour. Trust me, it wasn't pretty. All I need to do is buy a Leatherman all-in-one tool and wear it on my belt. That way, if I ever get stuck in an elevator again, I can take that sucker apart piece by piece.
Unlike a phobia which is a fear of a place or thing, paranoia is a fear that someone is out to get you. Paranoia is personal. The fear is usually unfounded, but in rare circumstances, it can be based in fact. Either way, paranoia can be debilitating. It can cause a person to want to crawl in a hole and pull the dirt over their head. When someone is paranoid, they aren't necessarily afraid of people, they fear what others can or will do to them. They move someplace far away. They stay home and close the blinds. They alter their appearance when they go to public places.
Wahed found a way to overcome his circumstances in life. He came to the realization that yes, it was possible that someone might find him and kill him. Then again, it might never happen. In the meantime, he decided to enjoy life which he did until someone else thought his past might harm them. Wahed handled his paranoia one way. The Kansas City Chiefs handled theirs another way. No one would have blamed Wahed if he dropped out of site and lived in a cave. No one blames the Kansas City Chiefs. That's the thing about paranoia. When it is substantiated, the victim is justified in doing what is necessary to protect themselves. The Chiefs have lost a valuable presence at their games. Wahed has lost an important part of his new identity.
There are many different levels of paranoia ranging from loss of life to embarrassment. No one likes to be embarrassed and people will do almost anything to keep that from happening. If someone knows you are a Christian, will they make fun of you behind your back? Maybe, but is that so bad? People might have laughed at Wahed if he painted his face and sat in the crowd, but when he painted his face, banged his drum and jumped around the stadium, his enthusiasm was contagious and people were inspired to cheer with him.
If you are a closet Christian, consider the possibility that you just might be paranoid. If you are a low profile Christian, someone, somewhere might make fun of you. If you figuratively paint your face and bang a drum, you just might inspire others...and overcome your paranoia.
10:27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops.
10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
10:32 Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.
If you are interested, I have a friend who can make you a deal on a drum.
Copyright © Rod Ellis
Use without permission is prohibited
Copyrighted © Gentle Ministries
Use without permission is prohibited