Posts Tagged ‘hug’

cant-waitHave you ever gotten a note from a friend and it said, “I can’t wait to see you!”? I have. Usually I like them. (I love mail) And sometimes they come in other forms, I got a voicemail the other night that was stating how it had been too long and we needed to get together. While the distance is kind of sad, knowing they are excited to see me makes it overall feel happy.

But today I got a note that said the same, “I can’t wait to see you!” and it made my heart so sad…

Today I got notes from multiple friends who I used to see every week. We went through a lot of emotions together. We cried. We laughed. We planned. We prayed. And I haven’t seen for quite some time. But I saw them again today. You guessed it. Today was a jail day. Sadly they are back on the inside. I loved seeing them. But I wished it was different. I wished I could hug them. I wished we could be creating halloween costumes for their kids. I wished we could go get coffee, go on a hike, see a movie, really anything other than sit in my office and face the question…”can you believe I’m here?”. Ugh. Sigh. Some days it’s hard to see friends. But it’s still worth it.

Shelby, I don’t want to die in here.
I can’t get those words out of my head.
Shelby, I don’t want to die in here.heart

A woman came into my office today, lets call her Sue for this story.
When she walked in her eyes were puffy. It was clear she was upset about something, but I had no idea what. I had only met her once before so I tried to remember what she had shared in the past. *think brain think* I couldn’t. I met multiple women the day I met her, and their stories were colliding in my mind.

So I did the next best thing, I guessed about her kids. I thought maybe she had told be about her sons, so I asked her, “you have boys on the outside, right?” Wrong. She has one boy, and he’s not on the outside. The tears started falling as she told me the name of the prison her son was in. Then the one her daughter was in. And a third that her grandson was in. *no wonder she is struggling* I thought to myself. That is a lot of weight for anyone to carry.

But I was wrong again. While that did bring her down, she went on to tell me that she found out this week that her husband passed away. She relied on him. He didn’t use drugs. He loved her. She looked me in the eye and said, “He loved me when I couldn’t even love myself…I came from an alcoholic family, and I didn’t know how to love”. Now she doesn’t even know if she will make it to his funeral.

“I really wish I was allowed to hug you,” I told her. “I know” she said, “I can feel it. Thank you”.

We talked about feeling and how it felt bad, but it was good that she could feel it. We were both thankful she didn’t have access to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, even though it would seem like the ‘easiest’ solution if it was available. And she said, “maybe that is why I came in here, because God knew I couldn’t have dealt with it on my own”. I respected her so much for looking for the positive in such a negative situation.  She told me how it was hard to sleep, and that sometimes her breaking heart hurt so badly that she thought she might be having a heart attack. That is when she told me, “Shelby, I don’t want to die in here”.  And she meant it. She is scared. She doesn’t believe she is having a heart attack, but death is something she has experienced far more than many of us. She knows it’s not something waiting for us at the end of our lives when we’ve had enough, she knows death comes at times you wouldn’t expect. And she’s scared that she’s next.

Friends, please get help when you need it. Know that you are loved. You were created in the image of God, and He loves you. Even if your family never did. And it’s ok to have problems, addictions, relatives in jail, a record, naughty kids, debt, a bad day. Those things don’t have to be hidden. Don’t turn to a bottle to soften the blow, there are people who are willing to listen, and a God who redeems. Trust me, I get a front row seat on both sides of these stories, and one side is better than the other. I guarantee it.

photo-22

Dearest, sweetest Mommy,
This art was meant for you.
I thought you’d always be there,
But I’ve learned that that’s not true.

I cannot understand it,
It just looks like you’re asleep.
They laid my picture up on you,
When people see they weep.

I wish that we could cuddle,
Or just get one last hug.
But heroin took you away,
I lost you to the drug.

Today I went to the funeral of someone younger than me. I didn’t know her, but it still left me in tears. So much pain. I’m so glad I am surrounded by a group of people who care. People who want to step into the mess and help to pull people out. Jesus didn’t tell people to get better first then come to Him…He met them in their mess and loved them. He gave them hope and challenged them to overcome. I want to live like that. I want love to win over shame. I want people to be able to share their struggles and find the strength to overcome.

I found out two people died today, and death hurts. To me it seems extra sad that one was homeless and one was the grandfather of my friend in jail.

One was a friend to me.
We weren’t close, but we have spent many hours together.
She was sick, but she wasn’t that old.
She was homeless when I spent a lot of time with her, but she had gotten into a place.
She collapsed on the floor and didn’t make it to the hospital.
She lived a tough life, and she will be missed.

One was a stranger.
I hadn’t met him, but I heard a lot about him.
He’s the pap of one of the girls I meet with in the jail.
He raised her.
She knew he was dying, but she couldn’t go and be with him.
He was fine when she went into jail, she had no idea he’d be gone when she got out.
She couldn’t hug or comfort him, but she did get to talk to him on the phone.

I don’t know what happens now. I don’t know if my homeless friend will get a funeral. I don’t know if my friend in jail will get to attend her Pap’s funeral. There are so many unknowns in life, and even more when you are faced with homelessness or jail. It makes my heart sad. But I know that God has me here and in these people’s lives for a reason. I count it a blessing to get a chance to walk right into people’s mess and live along side them. Hug the people you can today…only God knows how many days we have on earth.