Earlier this week I saw Lydia at the library and the chance encounter filled my heart with prayer for her and for missing some students from my past. She had been such a a good friend—more than a parent. I offered some help, but I knew from her responses and that she was not ready for that and I did not press.
It was the longest I have held someone in a hug for a long, long time. When we separated she was filled with tears. I imagine she was embarrassed, but just as much tired, longing for purchase on her life. For the chance to start over, but in no way sure how to find a way to start over. In fact, I don’t think she was embarrassed.
She seemed to see an old friend, someone to trust. Someone who could love her for what she was and I tried, with very few words, almost none, to convey the hope that where she currently finds herself is fleeting and will pass.
I had not seen her in 15 months. I had only heard rumors of addiction to crack. She looked tired, but okay,, somehow a little better than how I imagine crack addiction looks. It was mid-week, mid-morning. Perhaps the setting offered a reprieve from the worst of it, but really, I don't have a clue about the look and feel of such habits.
I believe that in the friendship we shared there is saving. Her daughter is growing up motherless. What must she be feeling after 15 adolescent months without a mom? She is athletic, this child, growing up without the maternal wisdom that only Lydia possesses.
Lydia needs purchase on the world. She said, “Some of us have a hard time sleeping in the bed we have made.” How true. What’s the solution? Is there one?
I pray TROSA upon Lydia. I believe they can help her. I believe that TROSA can save her life. I felt saved by TROSA when I was there. I miss my brief time there, though not a resident, I felt like TROSA on James Street was a community of honesty, discipline, and accountability.
I told Lydia, “You know it seems like some people have it all together, but they don’t. They are struggling on the inside. Taking life one day at a time.”
Of course, on some level, I meant me. And she knew it. I know she did by the tears that welled up in her blood-shot eyes, the eyes of too many sleepless nights, too many parties that brought no real joy. Eyes that felt needed for the first time in a long time. I needed her as a friend. I made myself vulnerable to her because I knew it would do her good as well as me. When we share stories with one another, real stories of pain and joy, we can be made whole.
She can get clean. I know it.
When she came near me, I was reading, Surprised by Hope, a defense of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
Because of the resurrection, Lydia can be made whole.
At least, she can struggle more successfully.