Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Young Woman At My Door

I told you last week how Jamey put a sign up by the road asking for bagged leaves.  I had grown accustomed to strangers (men) coming to my back door asking where we'd like the bags placed or leaves dumped.  I had gotten used to keeping an eye on our driveway (clearly visible from our school room and kitchen) so no one would catch me off guard.  I am mama bear, you know.

One day, I heard the rumble of a loud truck coming in our lane and looked out in time to see a beat-up light blue pick up truck pull in behind our house with leaves in the back.   There was a knock at the door and I stepped outside to speak to (to my surprise) the young woman standing there.  She must have been in her very early twenties.  She was thin and dressed in outdated, worn clothes, including a thin flannel that could've been a man's.  Her light, frizzy hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail.

She asked if we were buying bagged leaves.  I said, "Oh, no.  I'm so sorry, but we're only taking them if people just want to get rid of them."  She said okay (but didn't offer me her leaves) and very politely asked if I would like to buy any eggs.  Again, in my most apologetic tone I said, "Oh, I'm so sorry.  We have chickens," and I gestured out to the chicken yard where they were ranging.  She followed my arm, glanced at the chickens, said thank you, and left.

The one thing I could not get over while speaking to her was the state of her upper teeth.  Not only were they crooked, but where tooth met gum, there was blackness.  Large, black splotches that unnerved me.  "How does that happen?" I wondered, imagining a toothbrush never having entered a mouth like that.  I felt so badly for her.

As soon as I heard her rumble out the driveway I felt wave after wave of instant regret.  Why in the world didn't I buy leaves from her?  Why didn't I buy some of her eggs?  All of her eggs for that matter!?  Who cares if I didn't need them?  She clearly needed money.  I was devastated and so very disappointed in myself to the point of feeling almost shameWhat was wrong with me?  

That young woman and my regret haunted me for the rest of the day.


That evening, after things calmed down,  I recounted the story to Jamey, filling him in on all the details, including the state of her teeth.  He reached for his laptop, pulled up some photographs and asked me if her teeth looked like the pictures.  They did- they were almost identical.  He told me that is was good I didn't give her any money.  What she likely had was "meth mouth", a condition that occurs with heavy methamphetamine use.

My heart sank.  My regret didn't abate, but shifted.  I was now glad I hadn't given her any money, but I could have reached out in some way.  I could have asked her name and gotten to know her a bit.  I could have offered her some food- my pantry and freezers are overflowing!  I could have told her that I was glad she stopped by and that I cared about her.

For awhile the guilt and regret was all I could see when I thought about her, but then just the other day something occurred to me.  I don't know her name, but I know her face.  I know she exists.  And maybe, just maybe, God placed her in front of me just for those few seconds so her existence would leave a mark on me.

Maybe He placed her at my door so I could pray for her.

At the thought tears welled-up in my eyes and I began to pray.  I didn't do many of the things I wish I would have, but with God as my witness, I'm going to pray for this young woman.  And maybe that was the point of all this after all.

While we're thanking God for coming down to earth through His Son, Jesus, this season, let's not forget those who haven't met Him yet.  Let's keep our eyes open and sharp.  May God place before us those who need Him and instead of turning away, feeling regret or helplessness, let's pray for those that are lost.

My prayer is that one day this young woman and I will be standing shoulder to shoulder in front of The Throne of God, offering Him praise and thanksgiving. 

Lord, let it be so. Pin It

18 comments:

  1. Maybe it was God at your door in the form of a poor, young woman and he was testing you. Remember the poem "The Christmas Guest" by Helen Steiner Rice?

    Spiderjohn

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  2. That is a haunting story. There are some people we come across in life that leave a mark on us, and it sounds as though you will never forget this encounter.

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  3. A beautiful post, Jane. In so many ways.

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  4. Oh that is a tough one. :( I think I would have also said no out of instinct and then later realized the person needed (wanted) the money.

    This was a good story though and I think next time you'd buy the eggs... donate a flannel or whatever the need was, you would meet it.

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  5. Powerful post! Thank you for sharing!

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  6. This is perfect:) I am seriously loving your post! It is so inspirational and informative. I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable (http://frugallysustainable.blogspot.com/2011/11/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-4.html). I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday!

    Warmly,
    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link: http://www.frugallysustainable.com

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  7. You are one of the sweetest people I know. For real. xoxo

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  8. Thankyou for sharing this. It has really made me think and in thinking i have decided to pray for her too. Even if i dont know her i'm so sure God will listen.x

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  9. oh Jane,before you even got to the part about your husband researching this problem,I knew in my heart what was wrong,meth is very addicting,I wish I could find you the poem that most people on meth have heard at some point in there lives especially in recovery. it says basically that there meth is there friend [ best friend ] there lover.there child ect. they will do anything for it..I have a huge family and meth has affected a good portion of them and there families ,there lives and livelihood. I lost a niece to it [ poor Jill]IVE HAD MY HOME RAIDED BY POLICE , IVE HAD MY SANITY TAKEN FROM ME-IT IS BY FAR THE WORST DRUG THIS CENTURY WELL MAYBE,ALCOHOL RUNS A GOOD SECOND.YOUR FIRST COMMENTER WAS RIGHT ,BUT WHY WOULD HE TEST YOU AT THIS POINT ,YOU ARE THE MOST GIVING PERSON I KNOW BE VERY CAREFUL JANE, I DON'T MEAN TO FILL YOU WITH FEAR BUT ALSO OUR OLD LANDLORDS SISTER -IN LAW WAS KILLED BY A PERSON SEEKING TO ROB THEM YO BUY METH MY DAUGHTERS BEST FRIEND HAD LOST ALL HER TEETH BUT WHAT WAS WORSE ,SHE LOST HER CHILDREN FOREVER,HER SON MADE A VIDEO ON YOU TUBE IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED,SO SAD- MY FAMILY HAS CLEANED UP NICELY BUT NOT BEFORE A LOT OF LETS JUST SAY-COLLATERAL DAMAGE

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  10. As soon as you described her condition, especially her teeth, I knew it was meth. It is such a sad thing that has affected so many people in America. Only 6% of the people who start using it ever get off it.

    I believe that God put her in your path for a reason. I have had some similar situations, and sometimes, the only thing you really can do for people is pray for them. If you friend them, they can hurt you and your family in many ways. I had a "friend" whom I knew for a long time before I found out she was a crack head. She was able to keep many things together for a long time. Her life completely unraveled in front of me and I had to completely disengage to protect my family and me.

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  11. This gave me goosebumps- praying for her is definately the best and most beneficial thing you (we!) can do.

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  12. And this, this is why I love reading your words. You will teach your children that even if you didn't get do what you thought was right, you still prayed for her. You will remember her. You will think twice about the next person who may need your help. You will make a difference. You remind me to do and think the same way.
    Thank you for posting this.

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  13. I read your post yesterday & knew I wanted to comment but I didn't get a chance to sit down and do that until now.

    Your post was so timely, because I've been thinking a lot about hearing God and being obedient when we feel a nudging from His Spirit.

    I'm a lot like you, in that it's not until after an encounter I've had with someone that I think of a way I could have reached out to them.

    But, perhaps God just needed the two of you to cross paths so that he could urge you to pray for her. And, prayer is powerful. We forget that sometimes.

    We sometimes think along the lines 'Well, I don't know what else I can do for him/her, so I guess I can just pray.' But, there is no 'just' when it comes to prayer.

    Prayer is often the tool God wants us to go to first, so that He can work out His plan.

    Maybe he'll bring her across your path again. Maybe not. But, I truly believe you had a 'divine appointment' to meet her & have your heart moved for her.

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  14. I just stumbled across your blog. What a beautiful post! The part where you mentioned that you knew she existed struck such a sweet chord with me. In this world where things are so rushed and too often people are just a nameless face rushing by, what a lovely thought it is to be anchored knowing that not only God knows we exist, but that those brief encounters we experience open doors for Him to bless us in ways we don't even realize. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  15. I saw a homeless man on the street corner begging for money while we were in town the other day, I almost gave him some but didn't...not sure why. Later I felt bad about it. This morning I saw this
    video and it made me think that you probably made the right decision but I'm not sure if I did. Hard to figure this stuff out isn't it.

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  16. I have to write this as I have two acquaintances (sisters) that were not meth addicts that suffered from pyorrhea. It is similar to meth mouth and perhaps she was suffering from that.

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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