Today in my journaling time, the subject was raised to name three people whose lives I have improved. Not as easy as it first sounds. I know that I can't cavalierly announce that I've made impact on lives in general. Sure, I impact my girls and husband, but outside of my immediate circle, not so much. Well, after a bout of minor depression on the insignificance of my stay here on earth, I started getting some revelation on the subject. Well, I have two so far...
Years ago Ches and I worked in a homeless ministry. We hung out at the "Homeless Park" and talked to the old men and the families and the druggies. We fed them breakfast, bought endless sleeping bags, and obtained copies of birth certificates. One day we met "Jane". Jane was a very angry mom. Her husband had abandoned her and her 2 girls at the local grocery store and left town. Jane didn't want a handout, she didn't want breakfast and she didn't want to hear about Jesus. All she wanted was a job. And she would tell me that in her own special colorful language.
By a wonderful string of events, I was able to get Jane a car and a job cleaning at the church. After a few months, she finally qualified for a low-income apartment and leave the Homeless Shelter. A couple of years ago I was blessed to help Jane and her three kids move into a home that they all built through Habitat for Humanity. The four of them pulled together as a family and volunteered hundreds of hours to earn this home.
Jane still has her job at the church and her oldest son just graduated High School. I am so proud of her accomplishments and the fact that God gave me the honor to help her on her journey.
Nancy~Nancy was diagnosed with cancer when her youngest daughter was in 3rd grade. It was a devastating blow to her and her family. We barely knew each other when she was diagnosed, our daughters were friends at school, but I was working out of my home and had quite a bit of extra time so we became close friends fast. I took Nancy to appointments, sat through chemo with her, and helped her wash her hair. We spent hours copying Bible verses and singing hymns. Well, she sang...loud and proud. Through Nancy's fight with cancer she became such a Woman of Faith. The doctor's original diagnosis gave her 6 months to live and Nancy lived 10 more years. She was able to see her youngest daughter get to college.
I helped Nancy hold out hope when she felt hopeless. I would pray with her on the phone when she couldn't pray herself. I helped her pay bills and run errands. The guilty secret is that after awhile, it exhausted me. I was worn out and would sometimes avoid her. And it breaks my heart because I was her main support system and would often complain. That breaks my heart. I remember once when we were out to coffee, she told the barista that I was her guardian angel and she would give her life for me. That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.
The last day I saw Nancy was the day before Christmas Eve. She needed a ride to the bank to withdraw money. She wanted to send a bunch of cash to her brothers for Christmas and she knew she only had a couple more days to live. She had me pull over at a Salvation Army bell ringer and put a wad of cash into his little red bucket. And she told me that she didn't want to die, she wanted to live and knit sweaters for her grandkids. I really miss Nancy. I wish that I'd told her how special she was to me and how she enhanced my life. She gave me a purpose and a very real faith in God.