Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27 (NIV)
It’s hard to believe it has been a week since I last posted. The days have flown by, not because they were bright and happy, like the ones when you are on vacation, and send postcards to friends about your adventures, but because they have been hard and filled to the brim with decisions and meetings. There have been days when I woke up at five AM with my to do list spinning around on the hamster wheel I once called a brain. Days when I went in early, skipped lunch and attended meetings until nine or ten o’clock, only to lie awake for hours repeating conversations with different answers and second guessing each step. I thought about writing about all that was happening, but there is that form I signed not to discuss work on social media and besides, who wants to relieve the difficult times all over again when you blog about them? Isn’t it enough to have your dreams filled with your days? So, it was easier not to write. But, while work was demanding and my house is still a wreck, there were bright spots in the midst of the storm. As part of our church’s emphasis on local missions, some of us went to cook dinner one night at our local home for women in crisis pregnancies. There are fifteen mothers (some girls as young as fourteen) who live there until their babies are born and then, for six weeks after delivery. The two houses are cheery and bright, lovingly furnished and well kept. The women have chores to do, appointments to keep and rules to follow in order to live there. The location is only a few blocks from where I work, yet it was the first time I visited. Although our community has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Florida, it is easy to ignore the situation and think of it as someone else’s problem. But, that attitude ends once you are inside. There, “crisis pregnancy” is more than a phrase. It can be seen on the faces of the women. There is Lisa with her twin girls, less than two weeks old. One wears a monitor to sound an alert when she stops breathing. Lisa is thin, too thin, I think for a woman so new a mother. She cares for her girls in an almost desperate way. I can’t help but wonder how she will manage to finish nursing school with such responsibility now. Reagan’s month old son is a delight. I could hardly put him down, but she is not more than a child herself. Everywhere you look there are young women with budging stomachs and hungry eyes. We fed those stomachs, but I can’t forget the eyes. One girl exclaimed, “So, this is what real food tastes like!” Another thanked us gratefully and asked if she could fix a plate of leftovers to have the next day. She filled a plate like a squirrel stores up nuts for the winter. Another asked us if we would come back again. We are making plans not only to cook for them once a month, but to minister in other ways. I could whine and complain about my life. In fact, I do. Frequently. But, instead my mind turns to Lisa and Reagan and all the others and how I might help. I have lots to think about. And work is the least of it.