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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deborah

"Can you hear me?!"
"Are you okay?" 
"My name is Anna. I have some medical training. Would you like help?"

These were my words as I assessed "patients" during wilderness first aid training. The key word here is "some."  It was lunch break during the second session of a two session training seminar, and I drove the short distance to Taco Bell. We had an hour, so I brought in my Bible to do some reading. I sat down in the nearly empty restaurant. A man sat down in the booth in front, facing me. Another man set to my left, his eyes locked in my direction. It was silent, except for some obscure punk-rock band playing softly in the background. Needless to say, it wasn't really my scene. I noticed some tables outside, so I quietly slipped out of my seat and made my way towards the door. 
A woman asked me if I had a light. 
I noticed her wrinkles, overdone makeup, and frizzy hair, and then politely replied that I did not. 
I took the table next to hers.
"How are you today?" 
She looked surprised.
"I'm fine. How are you?" 
"Doing well...so what's with the suitcase?"
"I just bought it from a thrift store. I'm hoping to move soon." 
The conversation progressed. Then, there was a pause.
"Tell me about your faith." 
"Oh...well, I'm a Christian. God holds me together. He carries me through the days." 
"Cool. So what's your story?"
Deborah then told me about her childhood. How her mother loved Jesus, and how her father did not. He was a hard worker, she said, but he drank, gambled, and cheated on her mother weekly. When she was in school, her teachers asked her why she kept falling asleep in class. She told them it was because she was afraid her father would kill her mother while she was sleeping. She would come home from school to the blood they had tried to clean up. She has memories of her Dad grabbing her Mom by her hair, and beating her in the face repeatedly. 
Her 63 year old hands quivered as she wiped her eyes.
"But I know the Lord loves me. I know my Mama is in heaven, and I hope my Daddy is too."
There was a dignity to this woman. I knew she had a hard life, but she woke up, did her make up, bought herself a suitcase, and took herself out to lunch. 
My lunch break was over.
I prayed with her before I left, and gave her my devotional. 
We parted with tears in our eyes. 
A forty five minute interaction and I will never be the same. I can't wait to see her in heaven...a string of little moments. That's all we have. Little moments that make up the story of our lives. 


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