As I come to know these fine people, they share with me more of their personal and sensitive stories. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist. "Blog names" have occasionally been given to me by the person whose story I am telling. Names are never their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.
Sunday, July 9, 2017
Ashley gave me lunch.
I think I can do it in one sentence and follow that up with some explanation...
Here's the sentence:
"Ashley gave her lunch."
Here's the story...
At some point in Mickey's past, she dared to visit a church and was yelled at according to her own testimony. She vowed never to go back to any church ever again and has made it clear to me that she will never go to any of my church activities.
Out of total boredom with her day on Saturday, she said she would go with me to Urban Hope so I could drop off ten bags of donated women's clothes for their homeless ministry distribution. She was coherent and communicative on our way there. When we arrived, she said she'd like to catch a quick smoke before going over to meet people. I agreed and she stepped to one side of my van while I organized those ten bags. A couple minutes later, I looked at Mickey through the window of my van and realized she was not smoking a cigarette...
With a sense of paranoia on her face and struggling to navigate the ground under her feet, she stepped to the back of my van. I had to take her hand and guide her to sit on my back bumper where she composed herself enough to walk one block to meet people at the church as they set up for a block party. We walked down the sidewalk toward the church. We walked arm in arm due to her recent onset of instability. The first person to meet us at the corner of A and East Tioga was Jason Holt, the senior pastor (although they don't use that term). Ashley and others greeted Mickey with the warmth of Christ's unconditional love. Having never met Mickey before, they might not have picked up on her current condition.
And you know what... It would not have mattered if they had. Urban Hope is such a place that anyone could enter in any state of insobriety and that person would be accepted and loved in the name of Jesus. But that is a blog for another day...
Without getting bogged down in the details of the next half hour or so, shortly after these introductions, Mickey sat stoned in my van waiting for me to move those ten bags to their storage area. I had discretely told Ashely what Mickey had smoked just prior to walking with me to the church. Did anyone yell at Mickey? No! In response to Mickey's condition,
Ashley gave her lunch.
This morning, when I saw Mickey at the Wawa on Aramingo, among other things that we talked about, I asked her what she thought of Urban Hope. Even though stoned in the moment, she knew what had happened.
"Ashley gave me lunch."
"Yes. Ashley gave you lunch."