There is something about the bus that always seems to bring out my emotions, I think it’s because for me it’s a very solitary event, I can’t even think of the last time I took the bus with someone other than strangers. This is where I end up deep in thought and consequently I either become that weirdo who is laughing by herself on transit (shout out to Bri) or that girl who is trying to hide the fact that she is crying. I had this moment yesterday but it wasn’t because I was sad.
When I started working at the seed I had a very extroverted person on my team who was very evangelical, he was constantly praying with guests, which I just thought was so beautiful! And something that I wanted to do, but I was kind of scared, praying out loud with people was still uncomfortable for me. So I prayed and asked God to give me a situation or a moment in which I could pray for someone. That night a women came and knocked on the door of the office I was in and asked to use the phone for a long distance call. When this would happen it was kind of hard because you want to give the person privacy but you are also there in the office… once she was on the phone this women started crying almost hysterically as she spoke to her partner, she promised him she was going to get off drugs and start doing better, she promised that she would do it for him and for their children. When she got off the phone she asked if she could sit with me for a while as she wasn’t ready to go back onto the shelter floor. We started talking and she told me that she told me about her life, several horrific details of addiction and poverty, of terrible abuse she had endured and she told me about her children and how she wanted to change so they could have a mom. I asked her if I could pray with her, which she agreed to. This is a moment that changed the rest of my experience at the shelter and quite frankly my life.
This guest then went on to treatment and when she was finished was back at the shelter. I excitedly referred her to the housing program which she was accepted to and moved out , I heard of some bumps in the road for her from her housing worker but she was doing a lot better and headed in a good place.
Yesterday my bus was stopped at a red light in my neighborhood and I saw her walking with her daughter and another mom with some kids and a stroller and I was completely stunned, 2 years later, this was the full circle, she was just a lady walking with her kids and a neighbor, she was not a recovering addict living in a shelter. She was a mother with her child. She looked happy.
That’s when I become the girl crying on the bus.
When I left the shelter I compared it to breaking up with the love of my life…so I will continue with my cheesy metaphor, I’ve got those first date butterflies with housing and I feel something developing…working “street level” will happen for me again, that is undeniable but for now…this seems worth my time.