So the other day, I was at a walking event with my Department in the area of 5th and Spring Street. From across the street a woman yelled out to me to get my attention. I could barely hear her due to the traffic. She was pointing to a hotel that she lived in, letting me know she was no longer homeless. She was clean, and though still using the walker standing upright.
About several years ago, this woman was laying in a shopping cart with her legs swelling and dangling outside of the cart. The only way she could get around was from someone pushing her cart where she needed to move. She was sweating and was barely able to talk. She was covered in flies and she was to weak to swat them away from her. Days prior to that, she would walk slowly hunched over a broken walker. She refused assistance and chose to lice in squalor.
As she was in the cart, I grabbed her by the hand and told her I was going to get her help whether she like it or not. She looked at me and told me how embarrassed she was for allowing herself to end up in her condition. she felt guild for not going home with her daughters when they tried to take her home. Sadly, her addiction had too strong of a hold on her.
I called the ambulance and stayed with her. As I heard all of the sirens drawing closer, I kept thinking of all the times I offered to help house her and she refused. I then looked at her face and knew I probably wouldn’t see her alive after the paramedics took her.
None the less, I was and still am a man with tremendous faith in Christ. I prayed for her in my heart and she was whisked away to the hospital. To my pleasant surprise, she saw me months later and told me that I saved her leg from being amputated, and that she was going to reunite with her daughters. As once could imagine, I was on cloud 9.
A year later, I saw her again in Skid Row slumped over a walker, thin and emaciated. I walked over to her and with a weak frail voice she said “I know I messed up again. But I still thank you forsaking me that day. They told me I would have died if you hadn’t called paramedics.” She fell out with her daughters again, and at this point I had no housing resources for her. All I had was the shelter, and she did. not want to use it because of all of the rules.
I continued to watch her decline. I hadn’t see her for a few months until last night. A of now, she is housed and looks great and had to tell me how well she was doing. She looked phenomenal. I never saw her stand so straight before. Addiction and homelessness is a real struggle. When combating it there will be ups and downs, successes and failure. If you embrace challenges like I do, my message to you is to not lose heart when lives you try to build up fall a part.
Just be the constant source of encouragement for them. Don’t judge. Don’t scold. Just love unconditionally and pray. Be loving no matter their stare. They’ll come around one day to remind you of how valuable you are to this world when you care.
Keep her in your prayers y’all
God is good