Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If not me...then who?

I work as the Clergy Administrator {fancy word for Preacher's Secretary} in a large church. We regularly have folks come in needing assistance. Everything from something to eat or assistance purchasing medications to help with rent, utilities or car repairs. We have people who want money for gas to get 'home' and some who just come in asking for prayer.

Yesterday, we had a woman come in who was in desperate need of help. She was in extreme pain with a broken thumb but I believe that her torment was more than that. I believe that she is a drug addict, and she was in need of a fix.

She had wristbands on each arm from the hospitals in town. If she was to be believed, she had been in and left the ER from each. She was somewhat delirious and crying as she rocked back and forth violently.

I've dealt with a lot of people in the years I have worked at the church, but I don't know that any have touched my heart the way she did. I tried to calm her down, got her to drink some water and explained that I couldn't treat medical problems. I went and got a Pastor and we decided to call a cab for her if she would agree to go back to the hospital ER. She agreed, so I called the cab.

As we waited for the cab, I held her hand, rubbed her back and got her to sing with me. Every now and then she would get completely still and fall asleep for just a few seconds. Then she would jerk awake and start rocking again, moaning in pain. When I asked her if she knew "Jesus Loves Me" she said yes and we sang that together. She got calm as we did that, and she knew every word. Tears, not the same as before but a different sort of tears, flowed from her eyes as that old familiar song, I presume from her childhood, seemed to bring her a moment of calm and perhaps comfort.

The Pastor prayed with her and we said The Lord's Prayer together. Each time, she would fall asleep for just a few seconds and jerk back awake. After what seemed a very long time, although it really wasn't, the cab came and we put her in it. The Pastor paid for her ride {and gave the driver a healthy tip, which she probably earned}. She asked me to call someone to tell him where she was going. I believe he was her dealer. Or pimp. Or both.

She caused quite a stir in our somewhat pristine environment. I feel like I have absorbed her odor, which quite frankly wasn't all that pleasant. Her torment and tears stay with me throughout the day and into today. Her moaning fills my ears. The feel of her unwashed hair under my hand remains. The attitude of the man who seemed so uncaring when I called to let him know she had gone back to the hospital continues to irritate me.

I wonder how long it has been since someone treated her kindly? When was the last time someone stroked her hair or gently rubbed her back? Who sang "Jesus Loves Me" to her, enough that she knew the words and melody, even in her delirum? What awful road had she been on that brought her to our door? What happened to her once she left our presence?

And, I wondered why she came to our church? She passed the church next door to get there, and stopped before she got to the one across the street. Someone suggested that it isn't really my/our job to deal with people like that. I'm certainly not trained to deal with drug addicts who need a fix. It wasn't what I had planned to do yesterday. In fact, I had planned to be back at home, taking a few hours off before she got there. She certainly wasn't in my well-planned day, which was shot long before she arrived...which was why I was still in the building.

As I pondered my day, and shared with the very wise Rocket Man all the events of the day, he said something that I can't get out of my head. He said, "If not you, Molli...then who?"

Indeed. If not me...then who?

I pray regularly that God will place people in my path who have need of something, some part of Him that I can share with them. Sometimes, that includes opening my wallet and sharing my money. Occasionally, I have given away leftovers from last nights' dinner that I had intended to eat for lunch. My gloves. A smile. A prayer. Maybe even hope on occasion that there might be better days ahead. And, yes...even singing that precious song, "Jesus Loves Me" to try to calm a tormented soul.

If not me...then who?

Will you join me in looking for people who need something you can share? If you ask, God will place people in your path who have need of something, some part of Him that you can share with them.

If not me...if not you...then who?


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