Sometimes mustard just isn’t that important

September 4, 2008 at 10:31 pm 4 comments

Well, I haven’t posted in a few days, and I kept thinking that I was going to post about the meal Herb whipped up for us Tuesday night. But tonight, our quest to eat all the food in our house just doesn’t seem that important. Why you ask? Well, my closest childhood friend called me on the way home from visiting my mom tonight. She and I were very close growing up, but as I went off to college and she stayed home we drifted apart. Now, 17 years later, she has resurfaced in my life (actually she first called me nearly two years ago in need of bail money – and we have been in contact since).

Unfortunately, she is now homeless and an alcoholic as well. Makes for tough conversations as you might imagine. She called me tonight from a motel room, after having recently been released from jail. In tears, she tells me how much she misses the daughter that was taken from her custody about 15 months ago. What do you tell someone who can fit everything they own into a single backpack? What do you tell someone who doesn’t know where their next meal will come from, who doesn’t know where they will be able to sleep tomorrow night? whose family has essentially disowned them? who has only one other friend besides you in the whole world?

I don’t really know. So I tried to cheer her up. Tried to remind her that her daughter is in a good home with a loving family. Told her we want her to come back to work (she was doing housekeeping for Applied Trust this past spring). Told her I loved her and that she should get some sleep and call me tomorrow.

How do I, who have so much, help someone with nothing? I once thought the answer was to give her a place to live, but that’s not it. I tried that and she ended up in the ER with a blood alcohol level of .4. I thought it was giving her a job, but that doesn’t seem to be enough, although I think it helps. How do you help someone who doesn’t seem capable of helping themselves? If you know the answer, let me know. Right now, all I can think of is to support her, tell her she is worth it, tell her I care, tell her I want her to make it, and try to keep her coming to work.

I was going to tell you all about our eating habits this week. But tonight, it’s not important. Tonight, what’s important to me is remembering a person I knew long ago as a happy, caring, good friend – and wishing she could remember that person too. Tonight I think about a society that shuns people with no home, and I feel a stab of pain as I drive by yet another person sitting on a street corner asking for change. Tonight, I try again, to think of something I can do to help. Knowing deep down that really, she has to help herself. Nothing I do can compare with her wanting to do something on her own. Tomorrow, I hope she calls me and is doing better. Tomorrow, I hope she wants to come back to work. Tomorrow, I hope she’s thrown away the bottle. Tomorrow, I hope.

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Entry filed under: The Food Experiment.

Meal #14 – we’re nearing the end The food experiment wrap-up

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tim  |  September 12, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    hey terry… i don’t know what to tell you. i hope she does better too. good post.

    Reply
  • 2. Carol Ross  |  October 28, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks, Terry, for that poignant reminder of living with grace, whatever that might look like. Sometimes, all the human spirit needs is to know that they are not alone. You’ve given that and more to your friend.

    Reply
  • 3. :O  |  October 28, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Carol is right. I was in something similar for almost a year, a few years ago. And one of the biggest reasons I pulled through is because there was a friend, who never gave up on me. She never judged me. She never made me talk when I didn’t want to. She was just there.

    I had other friends too, who went the other way, and yelled and screamed at me. Hoping that’ll wake me up. Make me do something.

    But mostly, people just let me be.

    Eventually though, professional help was sought.

    I’m not saying which way is right or wrong, but that’s how it happened, and just KNOWING that someone is there for me was all that mattered.

    Reply
  • 4. Patricia  |  January 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Terry,

    I, too, share many of your feelings, as I also know her. She is so kind, so sweet, and generous herself. And yet, we are so helpless, it seems. But you ARE helping her. Keep doing all you do – loving her, talking to her, offering the help you can and do.

    You are the friend she knows that loves her – and that gives her strength.

    I will pray for a miracle. They can happen.

    Reply

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