*** DISCLAIMER: This is a heavy heavy post ***
Doreen is a woman I met while volunteering at the current B4G class. She is in her late 30's, maybe even early 40's and has an 11 year old son.
Doreen is a recovering methamphetamine user and is on the road to rebuilding her life.
She is receiving help from the church, who helped her get into an condo, on the wrong side of town.
On the side of town, that from my past I recall at least 4 drug dealers living on. 3 of which were in the condos where she is now living.
She told me how frustrated she is - she has no money, does not work, and is fighting to give her son the life he deserves. But, you can see it in her eyes, she is drowning in despair.
They tell her to give it all up to God, that he will provide. The trust is low though, so she keeps fighting to claw her way up - with as little help as humanly possible.
She told me - I do everything for my son. I'm trying to be better, so he can have better.
And that is when my heart broke.
Doreen, is the woman, I could have been, quite easily.
I look into her eyes, and I see myself - I see the life that, not so long ago (in the grand scheme of things) I had.
I will always be in recovery. I am probably the small percentage of drug addicts, who went cold turkey, and never turned back. Without help, without a step program - I just stopped and due to spite (and hatred) of myself never went back.
I need to note this - above I wrote I am probably... Well, I had to change the sentence. Originally, I wrote "drug users", I had to replace that with the word addict. I was an addict.
I was a shell of the girl I grew up as, and a shattered fragment of the woman I am today.
So, I look into this woman's eyes, and I see it. I see me, I see all the pain I had. The confusion, and the fear... The fear of the unknown - The fear of where our next meal was going to come from - The fear that asking for help would result in my pride being wounded - and even worse, that danger would come in.
All I wanted to do was help her. I just wanted to pull her in, and hug her. Tell her I knew - Open up my memories and just pour them out in front of her. Let her know, that she is not alone - that change is possible. I looked at her son, and I saw mine staring back at me.
Unable to go to camp - unable to pursue things he loves - all because they are too expensive. And his mother dying inside, because she is unable to give it to him. Being thrown in with the same kids who are already on the wrong path, just because of where they live - thus, being ignored by the kids more of his caliber.
I envisioned my life like this. I envisioned how awful I was doing - and where it would lead to.
If you asked me, when I had Emry, where I thought I would be in 8 years - - I would have never even thought to tell you today's reality.
I would have never said - I will have a great career, a 9-5, with my own office. Own my own car and home - and be happily married.
These things would have never seemed possible to me back then
I had told you that last Friday, a friend of mine came to talk about her Fit2Fight program - well, Doreen's son wants nothing more than to be in the children's classes. And they are within walking distance of their home. $90/month - She can't even swing it. She can't even begin to imagine where she could get the money for that, and afford it for the long run.
I want to give him this - now, we aren't that well off. We aren't broke - but, you know, we have just enough. But, still, I want to give Doreen's son this little luxury.
My heart still breaks while I type this.
I told her, and I swear to God, I can't believe I said it -
"If he wants this, see what you can afford, what you know you'll be able to swing each month - and let me help with the rest..."
This woman didn't know what to say to me. I drove them home - to the ghetto, so they didn't have to walk the 2 miles - Told her that it wasn't a hand out, but I didn't want her to pay me back - just to consider it. If he really wanted it, let me just help. And one day, she'll be able to do it herself.
And she told me she would think about it. Which, I already know means "I can't let you do this for me". Because, that's exactly what I would have said, back then. But, I hope - and pray, that maybe she will let me.
She has been on my mind all week. And while thinking about her, I remember who I was.
And, I can't help but feeling this is a sign - That it's time to start reciprocating the kindnesses I have been shown. Pay back karma a little.
Life is a journey
There is no destination
And all of these thoughts - even though written on this page - are still whizzing through my head.
Who she is
Who I could have been
Where I am
Where I could have been
Where she is
Where she could be
What my role in all of this truly is.
BE THE CHANGE YOU SEEK.
That's the one sentence I come back to.
I just need a sign - to know what I am supposed to do in all of this.
I just want to be the change... The change that I seek, and she so clearly needs.