I was cleaning out drawers today and found a CD-R marked “Old Documents and Photos”. I suspected I would find treasure, and I did. Included was this installment of my journal.
November 25, 2003
This morning I took a friend downtown to the clinic for a doctor visit and to get his meds. He got out of the hospital last night. I have to say I’ve been praying for courage and strength a lot lately.
The visit to the clinic was eye opening. I was in awe, and when I left, I felt a considerable amount of gratitude. Those poor people coming in there to get their meds were coming in out of the cold, and I think most of them were mentally ill. They all had warm coats, but I heard one lady say she was having difficulty warming up. Another said she was starving for something to eat. Some sat like zombies; you could tell they were thoroughly medicated. Others chatted easily and greeted by name everyone who came in. One woman seemed perfectly normal and very conversational. Then she started chatting to herself.
The clinic provided hot coffee for free. They also had a pop machine that took 50 cents for a can of pop. One man asked if anyone had a quarter. No one did, but several said they would give it to him if they did have one. Another lady told the woman who was hungry that there were two churches nearby that gave out food. You could tell….this small group of people takes care of each other.
One woman was overjoyed that she would only have to come to the clinic once a week instead of twice to get her meds. She told everyone that she and her husband were going to their church tonight for a Thanksgiving dinner and bingo. Her husband had to wear a stocking cap at all times because he had a one-inch metal plate in his head, and it got cold and hurt when his head was exposed.
One couple invited a man to their place for Thanksgiving. I wondered where their home is, but from the looks of the man’s jeans, he hadn’t washed them in weeks, and I doubt he would mind if their home weren’t fancy.
My little one had to use the restroom, and I got a strange, almost apologetic look from the lady behind the desk when she pointed down the hallway. I understood when I opened the door to a room so filthy and trash-laden that I couldn’t bear to let my child touch a single thing. I wanted to cry.
Not long before we left, the woman who was talking to herself blurted out that she wasn’t afraid of anybody. She repeated it, “I ain’t afraid of anybody…’cept God. He has power. And Jesus. They both have all the power. Ain’t nothin’ else in the world. Nothin’ else.”
I needed to read this now.