Connecting with Community

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What will you do ...revised

I worked late last night and I woke up late this morning. I left the house in PJ’s not knowing I would have to stop to refuel. My hair in rare form, well let's just say birds do a better job creating their nest. As I am pumping fuel I am certain that all the awkward looks are well deserved. Back at home I grab something to eat, read a little and then jump in the shower. While in the shower I wash my face with hair conditioner and well I will spare you the details. The way my day began I really have no business dressing myself. Later I notice my chosen attire includes a sweater with only three out of 8 buttons left dangling.  As the day progresses I casually pull the rest of the buttons off. 
What possesses me to get in a car and drive after that, God only knows. On my drive to work, I talk to a momma that is concerned about receiving help for her children. She fears that she will be taking away from a child that might be in more need than her own. I assure her that we have plenty and we will be able to help her children as well as every child that may be in need. Another call chimes in and help for a family with no sewer system is needed. Before I even make it in I receive word from the 20 year old aunt. She is raising her 4 nieces and nephews as well as caring for her ill mother.  She calls to ask for advice on how to juggle all that she is responsible for. I assure her I will do my part, to help her. She so desperately wants to go to school, she understands that is her ticket out. 
I remember I have a banquet I need to get to tonight and I have so much to do before I get there. I wonder if they will notice my button less sweater. My day continues with much more mayhem.
One last family stops by to pick up some necessary items. As she is trying to depart her car will not start. I go in to find a gas can and drive down the street to get some fuel for my friend. We place the fuel in her car and it still will not start. We try to jump start it and it still will not start. It is now 5:30 and it is not looking like I will make it to my 6:00 banquet.
I sit to catch my breath and I begin to think about my last family from yesterday. I've been thinking about them all day,  I can’t stop thinking of that child. I don’t know about you but I’m really sick and tired of losing children to suicide. Yesterday a family calls and requests that I stop by their home. I arrive at their humble home and begin to chat with the parents. They talk about how their child is being bullied on Facebook and through texts. They are concerned and want to know how they can help their son. I speak with the child and he tells me he doesn’t want to go back to school. He tells me he doesn’t understand why he is even on this planet. I am talking to a child with out hope. I don’t quite understand that and I'm thinking I don't want to. My heart hurts and at the same time it is filled with anger. Angry that children have to endure such hurt.
I don't know perhaps its his fault, he should of been born to a family with status, money and education.
I start to think of my day and recall how I was treated. I go to the register at Wal-mart and the cashier that is approaching,  sees me standing there but she keeps walking. She hesitates a little and returns to her register. She does not look at me or even say hello, she acts like she's disgusted with me for standing there. Later in the day I call a place where you can rent furniture and appliances. I am trying to help a family so I ask to speak with the manager. Again I am treated like I don't deserve the time of day.
If I am treated this way being an adult, I can only imagine the treatment this child endures. He doesn't live in the right house, wear the right clothes or belong to the right crowd. He is devalued daily, he is made to feel as if he is deficient. He is impacted by words and just as impacted by no words.
I will do whatever it takes to connect this family to the help they need. I will not shrug it off as something insignificant. I will use words to empower and I will use love to create hope. I will love this child without judgment. I will not allow him to become a statistic.

What will you do to make sure that we don’t lose another child to suicide?

* I went all day with my dress inside out maybe that's why I was treated so rudely.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

How to be a friend

I hurriedly work on closing out my day. Happy knowing many families are tasting hope again. It is 5:12 and I suddenly become uneasy, I sense a cloud of nervousness take over. My stomach becomes queasy and I dash to the ladies room and desperately try to keep it together.
As I am reentering my office, I notice my phone lighting up on my desk. I glance at the screen and my 16 year olds quirky picture is gazing back at me. It flashes 5:15 and I answer knowing I will be asked for money or a quick stop at Wal-Mart before I head home. “Hello” I mutter as silly as I can possibly speak.
“Mom I am ok but I just had a car accident “my worst night mare. She begins to cry and I realize I am 27 minutes away, from holding my baby. I dial my honey and frantically explain that he must reach her. With absolutely no assurance, in his voice he agrees. I run out the door and fumble to get to my car. I sit not knowing how to drive. I can’t remember where the key goes and I can’t even remember where I am. I sit with my head in my hands and weep for just a brief moment.
I reach for my phone but I can’t recall how to use it. I snap out of it, if only for a while. I drive what seems like an eternity and finally get half a mile from the wreck. There is a road block and I cannot get through. They are not allowing traffic to go through on either side. I can see all the fire engines and a mound of metal. I slowly begin to lose my mind.
I motion the officer and explain that my daughter is in the accident, after a battle I am waived through. As I get closer I just want to close my eyes, I see my oldest daughter Keila holding my baby girl. I can’t reach them quick enough. Time stands still and I take in every little piece of glass sprayed across the highway. I take in every fiber of metal meshed into the road. I take in every person. I take in what they are wearing. I take in everyone’s hair color and even notice the color of their eyes. I take in every sound, the sound of wheat swaying in the wind. I take in the awful color of flashing lights. I take in the uniforms. I take in the badges and the nods as I pass by. Finally I take in her small frame and the strands of curls that touch her face. I reach for her, I touch her, I caress her face and kiss her sweetly. I take her in and hold her as if I have never held her before.
We head to the hospital and as we reach the entrance. I notice a woman standing in the door way. As we get closer we see it is no ordinary woman. We see it is a friend, today she is our peace giver. She has arrived before us, armed and ready to serve her friends. It isn’t enough that she’s worked all day granting peace to many burdened people.  
I am thankful that our community has discovered, the only way to help when someone is need, is to be a friend.

Friends show their love in times of trouble.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wordless Love

 Friday afternoon and I receive a call from my 16 year old daughter, Christian. Christian and her beau would like a ride to the local pumpkin patch. I smile and agree to play taxi. On my way home I think of the luxury our young people live in. All of them with dreams and ambitions, the only worries are of what to wear and of what to do on the weekends.
 I pick her up at home and travel to her beau’s home to retrieve him. I listen as they chat about their day. The excitement of life is audible through their laughter. I drop them off and smile as I notice the crowds of young people filing in. I look around and see corn mazes, pumpkins, bunnies, goats, food and enough fun for all.
As I leave, my phone rings. I am reminded of a mother of four, her husband is out of work recouping from surgery. They work the land so that others can eat and today struggle to feed their children. I stop by our food pantry and retrieve some food for this family. This pantry is full of food I would eat and feed my family, I am pleased.
Wasn’t it just a few minutes ago that life was but a fairy tale? As children somewhere dream and have vision, children elsewhere suffer and lack the basics.  
I arrive at this farm and horses meet us at the gate. I quickly forget of why I am here and begin to love on these animals. My husband reminds me of our mission. We head up to the house and look for activity. Darkness surrounds us and silence abounds. I walk up the steps and knock on the door. My enthusiasm has not allowed me to take mind of the time. It is 9:30 p.m. and I have no business knocking on anyone’s door.
She answers and I ask for forgiveness. I begin with “I’m sorry it’s so late and I hope you don’t mind that I brought you some food”. She speaks softly “oh you didn’t have to do that”. I explain “I have no desire for you to go the weekend without enough food”.
It isn’t long before a little one appears. He sees me and rushes to my side, his little arms gently wrap around my legs.  I pat his back and squeeze him with all the love I have. My heart is crushed.
I make my exit and in this darkness find my way to my car. I sit silently without motion tears running down my face. My honeys wordless love soothes me. I find comfort in knowing that 4 babies will have full tummies this weekend. I think of all the people that made this possible, I am grateful.

"If you can't feed one hundred people, then why not just one"
-Mother Teresa

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My daughter Keila

The phone rings and all I remember is my honey telling me “babe it’s Keila, we have to hurry”. Time is no more and I can’t seem to exhale. Next thing I know I find myself sitting in the car, I sit trembling not able to see through my tears. I gain some composer and dial a friend, few words are muttered, “I can’t wait for you to get here; I have to get to my baby”.  Another call to my sister, whom is only 6 minutes from Keila, again few words are spoken “please get to Keila I don’t want her to be alone”.
Keila my precious girl decides she has had enough of her high school years. She chooses to skip her junior year and graduate a year early. She is anxious to get started with her college years. She has a plan to study law and pursue a life in law enforcement. She is quickly on the road towards continuing her education. Her start will be taking night classes at Amarillo College on the Hereford campus.
It is Tuesday night and class has let out. There is nothing different about this day, so she thinks. She takes her usual route and heads for home, as she is driving she notices a dark spot on the road. She is now on the highway traveling 70 miles an hour. She is closer to the spot and is certain now that it is not a spot but cows roaming freely on the highway. It is too late, impact has occurred.
She hits two cows and one fly’s above the hood only to land and crush the top of her car. Her car continues to travel and side swipes two other cows. Before this comes to an end the 4 cars behind her also make impact with cattle. As all this is occurring her thoughts are of her life being no more. Her car finally comes to a stop and now she sits alone and darkness slowly consumes her. As people stop to aid she calls her dad for help.
We finally reach her and fear overwhelms me, as I see the massacre on the road and my baby sitting in the mist of it all.  I reach her and hug her tightly; I assure her all will be well. As I hold her in my arms, she whispers “mom I lost my ten dollars.” I smile and thank God for my daughter’s life. As I begin to look around I see my sisters and people, people everywhere, all doing everything they can to help her out of this crisis.
No one asked my daughter where she worked. No one asked what church she went to. No one asked how much money she made. No one asked what race she was. No one asked. They just saw that she was in need and stopped to help. What if this is how we reacted when we saw people living in the crisis of poverty. What if we just stopped and just helped in any way we could?

“We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

*Accident occurred October 2009. My daughter is alive and well still attending Amarillo College pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice. Because of people like you that continue to stop and help.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sweet Beth

I missed work yesterday knowing I would pay for it today. I wake and head to my first meeting which happens to start at 7:30. I skip my morning stop for tea which makes me hungry. Yes I know I’m a little unusual. I enter the meeting place and take a seat. I sit and act as a dry sponge absorbing all that is said. I am in a room full of leaders with much experience amongst them. I am satisfied with the knowledge I have received and I leave to make the trip to my office.
 I arrive and before I even walk in the building I know today will be different. I dig through my emails but don’t even make it to my voice mail. I follow up with some of my families but really don’t do enough to make a difference. I hear the phone buzz and my first visitor is here, Frank is a homeless teenager. He comes in and sits, we chat for a while and when he leaves I feel somewhat discouraged.
I spoke with God this morning and we talked about making a difference in people’s lives. We agreed that it would not be an easy undertaking but we agreed that it would be necessary.
 I meet a friend for lunch and all our chatter is about the families we serve. It is beautiful to see her heart as she speaks. She tells me her story and I am encouraged. I admire her and quickly pray that I speak with as much passion as she does. We bid our farewells and I leave content, content with the notion that at this very moment all is well with the world.  As I head back to the office I think of all that I have waiting for me. No time to pause. We have mommas with no food for their children and mommas with no money for the rent.
I am finally home sitting on the bed talking about my day with my loved one. He listens patiently knowing it’s my therapy. The phone rings and many question then the phone rings again with more questions. Finally another call and a sweet innocent voice on the other end, my heart instantly hurts and I desire nothing more than to be in the same room with this girl. Beth begins to tell me she survived a car wreck that should have left her dead. Without pausing she goes on to say that she was raped a few days ago. I hurt that I cannot reach her and place my arms around her. She went to work today as usual because she has no one around her that she can tell her story too.
 As I write I can still hear the helplessness in her voice. She spoke with shame and regret. She talked as if she were all alone in this world. Just thinking about her, truly breaks me.  She doesn’t understand why she survived the horrendous car accident. 
I can hear her say “I feel as if I’m still alone in that car suspended, upside down, in midair. I haven’t left that place, I’m still there.”  Those words will echo always in my being, such pain.

My sister later wrote "you can't leave us hanging you have to give us some kind of hope that she will be ok".

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
- Mother Teresa