I am so blessed. I am simply so blessed.
This happened about a week ago and I can’t shake it from my mind. I was driving down the neighborhood and I see a young lady sitting on a corner. Not doing anything, I just happen to notice her. She kind of looked like a street person but she didn’t have any packs or anything with her. I go home. 5 hours later I am driving down that same street. She is still sitting there. Just sitting there on the sidewalk.
I can’t just drive by. I turn around. I approach her. I ask her some questions, is she okay, waiting for someone, can I get her anything, is she hungry, thirsty? Anything, how can I help? I can tell she is mentally out of balance. There is no logical process to her thoughts. I am pretty sure I was talking to multiple personalities. There was a lot of “we” in her verbiage. She was polite but definite in not wanting any help and “no police please”. Over and over “no police please”. I offered her food, no thank you. Can I call someone, no thank you. Can I help you at all, no thank you.
What was I supposed to do? We do not have good services in this town for mental health. They closed all that down claiming money issues. Especially on a Saturday night. If I called the police they were not going to take her to get help anywhere. Either they would take her in and book her for the night, or just tell her to move along. No real help. She wasn’t hurting anyone, she wasn’t in immediate danger.She has a right to live as she chooses.
Really, I have to walk away? I did. And then I drove away and cried. Cried because I am so blessed, and she is so lost. Cried because she was someone’s child once upon a time. Cried because my child is safe and loved and blessed and I am grateful. Cried because I am helpless sometimes against the cruelties of the world. Cried because she is another me, and I could not reach her. This, this is whats stabs my soul, there are humans lost out there. They started out with the same promise as I did. To live life and live it well. To love life, to feel joy, to feel safety, to feel loved. But somewhere along the line they became broken and lost. And no one caught them when they fell.
So I drive on, as she mirrors back to me, all that could have been. But I was lucky because my paths to get to where I am now have been twisted with lots of forks in the roads. Only I know all the choices I could have made and didn’t. Somehow Grace saved me. Over and over, Grace saved me. And I am grateful. It is those of us that have cracks and stood on those edges that know how fragile life can be. How a couple of steps one way or the other can change everything. No one caught my girl on the corner and she stepped too far.
I drove back by a couple of hours later and she was gone. I hope to a place where there was some welcome. A kind voice and some protection. She is haunting me now, making me look harder at myself and my life. It was frustrating to not be able to fix it, even a little bit. But I guess that would be about making myself feel better, less guilty. Perhaps the lesson is that we are all human, we all walk our own paths. To respect each other and help as we can along the way. And to be compassionate without overstepping boundaries. It is hard to keep that balance. Maybe my best advice for myself is to think how I want to be treated and act accordingly.
My young woman on the corner, you are in my prayers, sleep peaceful and safe tonight.
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