As the new month rolled around, the Covenant House was back in business for Emergency Assistance providing for a bountiful amount of new opportunities to interact with clients.  Yesterday, I talked with one lady whose story I found to be particularly inspiring. 

Ms. M, we will call her, sat timidly in the Drop-In Center waiting to be helped.  Oddly enough, I have found that I can easily tell if people have been to an agency like the Covenant House before depending on their body posture and composure in the waiting room, as well as how fast they get up when you call their name (just kidding, but really…).  Ms. M followed me quickly, and as we sat down, the first words out of her mouth were, “I’m so sorry to be bothering you.”  I humbly informed her that she was not bothering me at all, this is my job, and I enjoy doing it.  As I entered information into the computer, Ms. M told me how she had sold her washer and dryer and most recently most of her nice jewelry in an attempt to pay her bills.  She then inquired if I knew of somewhere she could get a couch or loveseat.  “I feel like if I can at least keep a roof over their heads [Ms. M has three kids ranging in age from 6-12], then I won’t be completely be failing them as a mother.”  That was heartbreaking to hear.  I tried to tell her that she was obviously doing the best she could and her children would see her endurance to make things better.

After I figured how much we could help in paying her utility bill I asked her how it was she got into this predicament.  Ms. M. went on to say that niether she nor her husband were able to afford health insurance; however, her husband had a laundry list of medical issues which began with a $12,000 sugery that had swallowed their savings and a  bill for the past year of over $700 per month to pay for various medications.  With that type of monthly deduction they were simply unable to make ends meet since he was unable to work. 

She tearfully admitted that things had only recently taken a turn for the extreme worse.  About a year ago Ms. M let her sister, a mother of two, who was fleeing an abusive relationship, come stay with her and her family.  After a few months of cohabitation, Ms. M. returned from a doctor’s appointment one day to find her apartment missing it’s new TV as well as some of her own children’s toys and clothes as well as everything her sister had brought.  The sister had run back to Floride with her previous boyfriend. 

The most beautiful part of our conversation came next though.  Not skipping a beat in the story, Ms. M. informed me that despite this she was not upset with her sister, nor did she regret taking her in.  Her sister had been in a tight place and “That’s what you’re supposed to do, that is what you do when someone needs help.” She spoke of her renewed faith in Jesus and how she had found peace in the fact that she had been able to help her sister when she needed it most.  She had peace that she had done all that she was called to do, and all she could.  It was amazing to see someone who has so little already (she informed me they had moved the lawn chairs off their patio into their living room to sit on when watching TV) be so forigiving in the face of other people who continue to take from her.  Talk about loving your enemies.  I told Ms. M. that there are many people who would claim that they could love people who betray them so awesomely, but it was rare to see someone actually flesh out that belief.  It is people with hearts like Ms. M. who give the hope of a kinder world a greater chance and make my sometimes monotonous work at the Covenant House worth all the while.