Yesterday could have been an incredibly depressing day, except for the fact that my mom wouldn’t allow it. The woman’s been dead for almost 23 years, but her influence lives on. I don’t believe in heaven, so as far as I’m concerned, she’s spread out on the Pacific Ocean floor (that’s where her ashes were thrown). Other than hearing her in my mind demanding that I be a perfectionist in my baking and sewing, I don’t remember any kind of specific after-death communications from her, until yesterday when she practically yelled at me.
I’d like to preface the rest of this post by saying that I don’t normally toot my own horn, and that isn’t what this is. It’s about me getting kicked in the ass to keep a promise of payback. I had a fairly busy morning, trying not to think about the annual visit to the doctor later in the day that us women dread. I recently added my city’s page to my Facebook account, and when I was taking a break between scrubbing the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry, I was checking to see what was going on in the world (ok, I admit, I was playing WWF as well).
The city page reposted a post from a church that said a young woman with three kids just got out of the Daughters of Ruth shelter and didn’t have enough money to get the water turned on in her name in her new home. There was my mother, staring at me from my Facebook page, saying “it’s your turn.” My mother’s name was Ruth, and I was once at a point in my life where I had to escape with only my children and a few suitcases and practically no money. A multitude of women I didn’t know came out of the woodwork to help us, and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be here today.
Now here’s the part that takes away the shine from my shining moment. I faltered, and in a prejudiced way. I’m not proud of it, but I think it’s important to point out that I’m not the wonderful, selfless person you may be anticipating at this moment. I called the shelter, and it turns out it’s not a domestic violence shelter, but a homeless shelter. The woman is married with four children and she and her husband have jobs and have tested drug-free. They just had a little blip in their lives and needed help to get back on their feet. Can you believe I actually thought “oh, nevermind”? The director of the shelter told me she’d talked with the teacher of the woman’s kids, who was so impressed with the children that she and her husband wanted to adopt them for Christmas. To me, the behavior of the children speaks well of the parents. So I wrote down the woman’s information and mulled it over. Greg’s daughter-in-law helped homeless people, so I talked to her about it and she shed a whole new light on things for me, telling me she saw people from all walks of life needing help. My ignorance was glaring.
So in the end, I did meet the family at the water department and put down the deposit to have the water turned on. I was glad I had the opportunity to meet the whole family, because seeing these people face to face (especially those of the children) made a big impact on me. It made me feel ashamed that I had hesitated, but grateful I had the opportunity to do for them what so many people did for me.
The rest of the afternoon when I tried to feel crabby about the doctor’s visit, in which I learned I shrunk an inch and gained a lot more weight than I thought, I just couldn’t do it. No pity parties for me. Thank you mom for checking in on Facebook, and thank you to Heidi for forcing me to see beyond my before-unknown prejudice.