I read a great post last week about having a heart for hard to love people.
And I totally agree. My heart breaks for a lady that I see almost every day. A person I have absolutely nothing in common with, who has chosen a path so different from mine that her life is totally foreign to me.
I know God’s heart breaks for her too. But I don’t have any answers as to what to do about it. Or even if there are any answers.
Because (like Jamie stated in her blog) I’m pretty sure no little girl thinks “I want to grow up and pretend to be homeless”.
While my heart breaks for her, she also makes me angry. Mostly because I don’t understand.
I don’t understand why if you have a perfectly good home, you would choose to remain dirty and sit on a bench downtown in the middle of winter. Or why if you had a home for all your things, you would carry so many of them with you every day. Or why if you have a couch and a bed, you would choose not to sleep in it, but to try and sleep all the places you’re not allowed to sleep.
That’s probably the one that bothers me the most….because it makes me confront that ‘I have a heart for you, my heart breaks for you, but I don’t know what to DO about it.’ I feel like a jerk no matter what I choose. If I let her sleep on the couch, I’m negating all the talks and progress that we’ve had in the past. I mean, if I tell you that it’s not appropriate to sleep on the couch, but then I let you do it, would it matter what I say to you ever again? If I awaken her and remind her (again, several times a week) that it’s not appropriate to sleep on the couch, it seems really unloving. I mean, it makes me feel really unloving. I’m sure to the 20 customers sitting in here, it looks really unloving.
It has been really bad for weeks. Not just the sleeping on the couch, but her general appearance, her smell, and her demeanor. Often she murmurs to herself, and last week was talking quite loudly. Swearing actually. And when I tried to talk to her about it, she looked right through me. Like I wasn’t there.
I don’t think it was rudeness. I think she really didn’t see me. That she was so deep inside herself, either her mental illness or her drug abuse (how do you tell the difference? i never know. does it even matter? are you supposed to be allowed to behave unacceptably if you’re mentally ill, or if you have an uncontrollable addiction? both? neither? where are the miss manners guidelines on THAT issue?) that she didn’t even know I was talking to her.
And my heart broke a little more.
Then last Friday, the sun came out. She was smiling. It was warm, and as I walked past her bench and said hello, I noticed her hair was wet. Like she was fresh out of the shower! She still had her array of bags and stuffed animals, but she seemed to recognize me and we talked about the beautiful weather.
As the day went on, and she came in and out of the shop, I noticed that her hair was still…..wet? Obviously not freshly showered. I’m not sure what. Then she was mumbing again, swearing to people only she could see.
And now she’s sleeping on the couch again. I’m going to have to say something. She’s snoring, and people are getting uncomfortable. I never have the right words for this.