Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Susan

When you're in a war zone, every time a bomb is dropped, everyone yells "incoming" and dives for the trenches. I've been typing up the prayer requests for the Bible study I teach on Wednesdays to the ladies in recovery. What carnage. Sometimes the sadness can get all over me. There's a lot of brokenness in one room.

Today our lesson was on the 2nd blessing (beatitude): Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. We did a little exercise where each lady wrote down something they were mourning the loss of. Then, we would all respond with, "You shall be comforted." There were moments when the ladies would lean forward to take in what I was saying. It felt like God was working through me today.

Several nights ago, I spoke to Susan. Susan is a graduate of the drug rehab program. She is 50 years old. She has 3 grown kids, one 12 year old and a sprinkling of grandkids. I connected with her when she was in the rehab facility, so I did something I've only done one other time: I gave her my phone number.

I remember when Susan entered the drug rehab program. She looked like a frail little animal who had been left out in the rain one time too many. She gave me a list of poems and devotionals that she wanted me to try to find copies of. She was clawing her way up from the bottom, trying to figure out what to do to hang on.

I remember the first time she called me after being discharged. She sounded very tentative. She said, "Ms. Tammy, I don't know if you remember me. My name is Susan." A big smile spread across my face. Yes, of course I remember you Susan. We talked about some of her challenges. She told me she was trying to find a job. She said her son had a truck he would sell her once she got a job. She also had to attend outpatient and keep in touch with her parole officer. It seemed like a lot to put on one lady's plate; especially one who had succumbed previously to life's struggles. She asked me would I mail her a couple Recovery Bibles. She had given hers away and she had a couple friends in recovery she also wanted to share them with.

Our most recent talk was more of a check-in. She told me she was on break from her job. "I was reading my Bible and you just popped into my mind," she said. I told her that was the universe calling out to her, as I had thought about her a couple days previously and made a mental note to call her. Her truck needs new transmission, so she was taking the bus to her grocery store job. She also was cleaning apartments. I have her address and thought about how easy it would be to mail her a check to help her out. But I didn't. It sounded like she wanted to make it on her way, so I kept my mouth shut. I asked her how she was doing; was it hard staying clean. She confessed she had relapsed once, adding, "The whole time I was relapsing, I kept thinking, this is not what I want, I don't want to throw everything away."

I never hear what becomes of 99% of the women who leave the program. I spend 6 months with them, then POOF, they're gone. I would like to keep in touch with them, but I am hesitant all the same. Not everyone is a Susan.

Susan hasn't given up. She is hanging tough. I really think she's going to make it. I hope she will continue to include me in her recovery.

Copyright 2008 Just Enough Grace Publications

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