Saturday, May 24, 2014

The veteran's widow

It was a normal Saturday afternoon.  I was heading west on State street. All was nicey nicey in my perfect world.  I had just finished teaching pilates, getting groceries and was heading to the home of one of my husband's coworkers to pick up the free hostas offered to us last night at a dinner party.

Me and my perfect little world..  and I looked to the side of the road.

There she sat.  A stocking cap on her head, shaking, cigarette in hand, crying.  She looked somewhat gaunt but strong, nonetheless.

I had about 20 seconds to make a decision.  I pulled into the turn lane.  The light was red.  I stopped. Rolled down my window.

"Are you alright?" I asked tentatively.

Who the f@#$k do you think you are?  Get out of here, you f&^%$  #$@#$$%!!!

"Well.. you seem to be crying.  I just wanted to see if you are O.K."

Who the F&^ing cares? Unless you are a widow, get the &^%$% out of here!! 

That's all I needed.  One clue.  She's a widow.

I pulled forward at the parking lot somewhere between the cemetary and tattoo parlor.  I grabbed all the cash that I had in my wallet.  $10.00.  Oh, that's impressive.  I folded it in half and tore a hunk of paper off and wrote "Jesus cares" and wrapped it around the cash.

I approached the lady--walking slowly, but cautiously.

"Please don't hurt me.  I just wanted to give you a little some thing."  With the degree of anger she had going on, I  figured that she'd brandish a weapon of some sort.  Thankfully, no firearms emerged.

I handed her the wad that was so hastily pulled together.

"So, you are a widow..."

no response

"A veteran, right?"

Ten  %$#$%ing years ago!  those...  %$#%^^%$!!!!  

"I'm so sorry.  It's memorial day weekend, and you lost someone.  I'm so sorry.."


"This must be hard for you.  I just stopped to let you know that God cares about you.  Jesus knows your hurts.  This small gift and note won't bring him back, but it may just let you know that God hasn't forgotten about you and your pain.."

"So, are you planning to kill yourself?"

If I haven't killed myself in the past ten years, I'm not planning on doing it today..

"That's right.  And you know what else?  You need to pull through this.  There are 100's of people who have lost people.  What if you are the one to help them?  You picked the busiest intersection in all of Rockford to sit and mourn your loss.  You wanted someone to stop.  You could have done this from home, but you are here.  And there is a God who loves you and wanted you to know that."

She didn't say anything much after that.  But she was thinking.  I told her that I would be looking for her next year at this time on this street corner.

The pain.
The anguish.
The loss.
only curses and expletives replacing a soul cry to God

Was she scary?  Yes, definitely yes.  And No.  not at all.

And if I were take a step back..  she is a microchosm of the hurting people in general.  They are so angry.. so scary.. so unapproachable at times.  And me, in my car, full of groceries and a life full of comfort and love is just a microcosm of the church.  We give and love our own.  We feed ourselves.  We love our comforts.  And we just "don't go" where "not invited"..  and let people suffer and die. We let them cry on the side of the road.  And when we do try to help, it is something lame like $10.00 and a hastily thrown together note.

pathetic.  I am pathetic.

My husband served in the military.  But he came out in one piece with a fat resume to boot. Hardship? I think not.

And here she sits, crying.. a widow with a broken heart.. on the side of the road.

 She's crying.

Are we listening?


Kathy Bloom said...

Beautiful outreach from one vet's wife to another, from Jesus to the hurting. Keep going, you with the large and tender heart. There are more..many more.

From your friend, another veteran's wife who has been blessed, not left behind.

Anonymous said...

I am pathetic too, but I appreciate your effort and thoughts. Steps in the right directions are all good. Bless you, and may the Lord rescue this bleeding woman.