Bye, Amy..Hello, Lent
I was supposed to be at Johns Hopkins today. A friend from recovery who has hepatitis that doesn't respond to treatment had his gall bladder go bad. The local docs wouldn't touch him because the surgery was extremely high risk due to his liver. They knew he might very well bleed to death on the table. Because he is hopefully getting a liver transplant (some day), the transplant docs down there were willing to do the surgery.
I was supposed to be down there visiting him today. He wasn't supposed to be doing so well. He wasn't supposed to be out for a week so that they could watch for post op bleeding. But, he was coming home today and so we didn't go visit him.
Instead, it seems that maybe God cut me some slack. Instead of visiting a sick friend in the hospital, I visited a sick friend in a halfway house. She had made some stupid choice and gotten herself kicked out and was being sent back to jail. I used to sponsor her tho I let her go because I couldn't help the unwilling, but she called me to help now. She wasn't really trying to do well. She has been caught up in self destructive patterns. She would play lip service to change while she slunked off to do something wrong...against the rules where she lived, and against principles that would make her free. We packed up her room and she continued to try and lie to herself, as those going to jail do, either reflexively or in preparation. She minimized her wrong, she avoided and justified, she refused to feel any guilt, just victimization.
We talked as she sorted. We exchanged memories as we packed. She said God must have a plan, but I corrected her that God's plan was not for her to get laid and get sent back to jail; that was her plan. But, as we lugged the bags down those clunky wooden steps, my emotions began to gather in the back of my throat. I didn't want to guide or instruct or chastise anymore. I wanted to love her and tell her how much I would miss her and how much I wanted good for her.
Her mother arrived. "Well, this is it," she sighed. And we hugged, but the emotions came thru and I held her tighter. She tried to reassure me, "I'll be ok." She still didn't get it.
"I know, you'll be ok," I managed thru the tears. "You'll be ok in the way that we ignore how we feel and that we survive and move on. But that not what I wanted for you! That's not what God wants for you! We want you to thrive, to grow, to know freedom! I want you to see there is another side..." I let her go so that she could look into my eyes, to see and believe.
We finished the packing by loading up her mother's Honda. She thanked me for coming, when no one else had. I told her I was supposed to be at a class, but instead of the class, I was going to Baltimore which was cancelled at the last moment and so I was available for her. Maybe it was a God thing. We smiled, weakly as we hugged one last time before she left.