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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.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017


(The names below have been changed to protect privacy.)

In my college years, within my inner circle of friends that included both men and women, there was a young woman whose Christian Faith was rock solid spiritually and intellectually.  That's unique in this world.  Most of us are one or the other.

This woman had two sisters and one brother.  All of them were and are solid in their Christian Faith.  As the years have passed since college, we were not in each other's actual presence very much, hardly at all.  Thanks to Facebook, we were up on what was happening in each other's lives.  When my friend was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago, I read stories from her of how her siblings were coming to visit to care for her as well as her daughter and husband in any way they possibly could.  

When the word "hospice" became part of those stories, the evidence of siblings coming alongside their baby sister grew exponentially right up to the day she moved to heaven two weeks ago.


Two weeks ago, I met a new cluster of homeless and addicted people under a bridge.  They include men, women and at least one as of yet to be born child.  

Prior to being introduced to this group of human beings, I had seen one person inject heroin into themselves.  In these two weeks, I've lost count.  I sit with them while they inject and watch a mostly coherent person become barely coherent and falling over all in the name of getting that needed high.

Such is the case with Julie who I've seen under this bridge for these two weeks, skinny as a rail, polite and welcoming.  Last night, I visited this group of men and women with leftovers from the family dinner at Urban Hope.  This included chicken salad sandwiches, prepackaged diced pears in their natural juice and bags of chips.  Julie was there as always and next to her there was a woman I'd not seen before.  After distributing the food, I introduced myself to the newcomer.  Julie said, "Chris, this is my baby sister Jennifer."  

As I said, "Hi, Jennifer.  It's nice to meet you." a ripple of pain ran through my heart as I watched her finish her injection into the back of her hand with Julie's help.  I had handed Jennifer a fruit cup prior to the injection being prepared and she had been truly thankful.  As this potentially, instantly deadly injection began to take effect, I watched Jennifer's level of coherance drop to a minimal level.  Julie herself was fading from her own injection but managed to assist her baby sister with direct pressure to the needle wound in the back of her hand.

Jennifer's level of coherence was so low at first that I chose to stay close in case Narcan was needed.  Eventually, Jennifer was in that zone where she was trying to do things and not having any luck with anything.  Opening and consuming those pears was too much for her even though she was very hungry and showing interest.  

I opened the pears for her and realized that even holding the spoon was too much.  She wanted to eat.  That was obvious.  I began to feed her the pears.  It was also obvious that she was doing all she could to receive food, something she'd not had in some unknown-to-me period of time.  

As I fed her, I asked her if she understood why I was doing this.  She didn't.  I said, "I care about you because Jesus loves you."

She paused in her eating and leaned in toward me and looked into my eyes...  "Jesus loves me?"

"Yes. Jesus loves you just as you are."


One set of Christ filled sisters assisted and served their baby sister in any way possible as cancer was battled and eventually claimed her.

Another set of sisters...  Julie assisted and served her baby sister Jennifer in a procedure that could have instantly killed her.  


1 comment:

  1. What a story Chris. Thanks for caring for those who are trapped!