Here is a story I have share bit and pieces with some people in my church, but never the whole story. The person has been moved out of the area for a while now.
I walked to town one day and decided to have breakfast at the bar and grill. Yes, I said bar get over it. Other members of the church eat there too. The food is good. I sit down at a table by myself and order. I look over at the bar and there is a woman drinking a beer. Okay it like 9:00-10:00 in the morning. I sit there wondering why she was drinking so early. I notice people are ignoring her. I feel for this woman. I get up and go and sit by her. I don’t say anything to her, but she starts to talk to me. She says finally someone that’s not ignoring me because I’m drinking and drunk. Yes, she was drunk, 3 sheets to the wind, but why I think. I tell her no judgement from me as she takes another drink from the bottle. She introduces herself. I tell her my name. We shake hands.
Somehow she starts to talk about Christians and how bad they have treated her. She then say don’t tell me you’re a Christian. I say yes, but I’m not judging you. She takes another drink from the bottle. My food arrives I offer to buy her some or share my. She still talking about a church she went to and felt unwelcome. I tell her about my church and how welcome I feel there.
She tells me that she and her boyfriend who she lived with for 10-20 years, I don’t remember which, got into a fight 2 weeks early. When I say fight I mean fight. He HIT her. She shows me her fading yellow bruise on her arm. I don’t know if she hit him back. She tells me he kicked her out and she was now homeless and staying with whatever friends who would take her in. She hadn’t stop drinking for 2 weeks.
She wants to leave town, but she needs to renew her license. She afraid she would get arrested for public intoxication and wants someone to go to the court house with her. I volunteer to walk there with her, but only if she sobers up first. So, I order coffee for her. She starts to tell me about some of her childhood hurts. This I’m not going to share, but it was bad. More coffee. She goes to the bathroom. I say a silent prayer for her and for me to be able help her. I feel I’m out of my league. I thought she might have slip out the back door, she was gone a long time, but she didn’t. I pay my bill and make sure her bill had been paid too.
We start to walk to the court house. At this time I not so sure she won’t be arrest. Another prayer for whatever was best for her to happen. We ran into people she knew. They asked what she been smoking. She admits she been drinking. They tell me not to take her to the court house yet to walk with her more. I see my pastor going into pharmacy with a small grill. I yell hello and wave to him. We walk past the place and get ready to cross the street to the court house. She says she not ready to go in yet. We go into the pharmacy for more coffee. My pastor stops and talks to us about some of the things she told me about other churches. I’m thankful for him for talking to us. He leaves. We leave and walk around more. She starts getting more sober and tells me more of her story. I feel deeply for this woman. I never been hit by someone, but I feel her hurts. I realize I could have easy been this woman drinking in a bar in the early morning.
I’m going to skip some parts now. She does get her license renew after throwing up at the park. I walk her back to the bar and grill where her car is park. She says she is going to get another beer for the road. It’s time for me to be honesty with her. I tell her if she does she will end up in jail. I tell her to go sleep it off at her friend’s house. She understands I’m telling her it’s time to stop drinking and leave town. I give her a real hug and call her sister/friend. I tell her I’m going to pray for her.
My heart breaks for this woman. I say good-bye thinking she would go back into the bar for another drink. I started my walk home, praying with all my heart for this woman. Maybe a few tears fell too. She drives by me leaving town. I don’t know how much if any I help this woman, but I know this she helped me learn something about myself. I got to be willing to share my story if I’m going to be able to help people.
The next day I talk with a social worker. I asked about how to help women like her. I found out they were trying to work with her. I haven’t seen her since our walk through town, but I still pray for her. I hope she’s safe and found some happiness. Maybe someday I’ll see her again.
Take what you need, leave the rest.
Peace and love