Life is a Right Hook to The Heart Sometimes
I came home and had my first quiet moment of the day. After smashing what was left of a delectable BBQ plate, (God bless the south) I aimlessly scrolled through my social media feeds.
Now that was at least an hour ago. And although I am exhausted and should be in bed, I figured I should stop reading #IntervarsityPurge updates and tell y’all about my day. Let the record show that I will not be talking about IVCF. There are others talking, and saying things I could never say as well. Google the hashtag.
Now back to today. What to say?
My heart is broken and straight up mad. I met a beautiful young woman today at a McDonald’s. We chatted for a bit and eventually she invited me to sit with her. A is a sex worker and I later found out that she is also a heroine addict.
We clicked and I got to share a bit about my life with her. She seemed kind of closed at first, but eventually warmed up to me. We shared tender moment as she leaned on me with tears in her eyes. With my arm was around her, I just repeated over and over how loved, beautiful and valuable she is.
We were on our way to a block party when we met A. After our encounter she decided to come along. I told her if she wanted to, we could help her find somewhere to stay. Fast forward an hour she had people looking into resources for her, praying for her, sharing their story and just simply showing some love.
Fast forward another hour and the list of resources we had been given proved fruitless.
Fast forward another hour after that and A is starting to experience withdrawal. I have exhausted my follow up list of contacts and I am ready to punch a wall in frustration. Forget being sad. I was mad. Wanted nothing more than to shout and curse while being on a work trip at a Christian conference. Really not a good combo.
I called a friend back home, expressed my frustration, found a corner to release some choice words and refocused myself so I could hit the ground running again.
I dealt with my hanger and went back to the drawing board. By this time it had been over 6 hours since A had had her last hit and I was nowhere closer to finding her the help she needed.
Fast forward 2 more hours and I had hit the final wall. Over 23 phone calls, facilities in four different cities and their surrounding areas, answering machines, intake nurses, receptionists, government hot lines and people from all over the continent praying and searching their contacts, and still nothing. Over 5 hours of work and not one viable solution for this girl who had 6 hours prior expressed a desire to transform her life.
She told me she had changed her mind about detox. She was scared it would get her in trouble. She had a friend who could take her in. No he doesn’t live in a house, he’s currently living in a hotel with his grandpa and 4 other people.(I’ll spare you the description of the facility)
With this I tried one last ditch effort to find someone in the building that was local and knew of an alternative to what A was suggesting. Nothing. Sometimes you just hit a wall. We can’t help with housing. There is too much need to keep up and too many resources to keep track of what is what.
Now I am angry and ready to burst into a puddle of tears. I know it’s over. I know I have to bring her to that hotel not matter what kind of shady characters live and make their living there. I am also keenly aware of the fact that had we found something 4 or even 3 hours prior this situation may have had a different outcome.
Long story short, we brought her to meet her friend and promised to pick her up to attend church the next morning. And now I am sitting here reflecting on it all.
Here’s my thought: We have to do better. All of us. Teachers, policy makers, donor boards, social workers, ministers, churches. Everyone. There has got to be more and it’s got to be better than this. We had professionals, Google, working internet, telephones, computers, and maybe 6 people actively looking on top of their networks and came up with nothing. That’s a pretty much impossible scenario to manage completely on your own if you’re poor, homeless, and experiencing withdrawals. Not every person is going to meet someone like me willing to put their day on hold to help and find a solution.
Help can’t only privilege the already privileged. How are the vulnerable in our cities going to be truly helped if they can’t afford or don’t have the resources to tap the resource they need? I don’t know the answer, but I am pretty sure it won’t be found in the latest Trump vs. Hilary debate or convincing someone that their leggings are from hell. So can we pool all of that energy towards helping the As of the world instead?
I know they aren’t all ready to embark on that journey. But let us make it so that on the day that they are it won’t take this much manoeuvring to get the job done. Overhauling your life isn’t easy to say the least, let us at least make resources affordable, available and accessible. We can afford it, we can.
I’m no longer coherent. I am spent and dozing off here. But you get the point. My heart hurts and something’s gotta give.
Oh and sometimes life is a right hook to the heart.