God Give Me Strength

English: Seen in a downtown eastside vicinity ...

She was lying half-dead in the alley behind the bar. Only moments earlier she had shot up. Her earlier fix was beginning to wear off. She could hear a noise from behind her but her body did not want to move.

A bag of cement felt lighter than she did. Her eyes closed, needle laying in her hand. Soft rain falling on her bare legs the soft cry continued. God help me or kill me. I don’t want to end up dead like the others were her thoughts.

Less than an hour ago a stranger had taken her to this alley and stuffed some bills in her hand. He pleasured himself at her expense and then left her there. The only way she knew how to rid the guilt and shame was to forget it through  a drug.

Sara had been kicked out by her mom a year ago. Her mom was an alcoholic. Sara couldn’t even begin to count how many men went in and out of her mom’s bedroom door. All it took was one guy, one jack-ass to say they could have more fun if they could just have the house to themselves; and out on the streets she went.

She was too young to get enough pay to have a roof over her head. All she knew how to do was be a stupid waitress. The pay  was squat. Through customers she had met another young girl like herself. They got to talking and in no time at all Sara moved in with her.

What the new friend omitted from the conversations  was that she was a hooker. Through learning how to dress and apply her make-up it took very little time and Sara was out hooking also.

She still had very little money turning her profits over to her John. But she did manage to have enough money to pay her half of the rent and put a little food in her gut. Now she was here lying in the dark left to die.

Oh please dear God hear my cry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I never wanted to be my mother. Please help me Lord. I know I don’t usually talk to you, but right this minute I am dead serious.

She floated in and out of sleep. Her body healing once again. The drug having kicked in she was a little more stable. When her eyes did open she could faintly hear the cry in the background.

Where is that coming from? It sounds like a baby? She somehow managed to pull herself together and sit in an upright position. She was leaning against the big rusty dumpster. She heard the cry again. Help me Lord. Someone needs my help, please Lord help me do this.

She stood on wobbly legs and saw the syringe in her hand. She looked at it and then threw it as hard as she could down the alley. I don’t want to do this anymore God. I need you right now.

The dumpster was about two feet taller than her. She found some old plastic milk crates and stacked two of them and climbed on top and peered down into the trash. Oh my god, there is a baby laying there. She leaned over as far as she could but she couldn’t touch the baby.

She went and got two more crates and standing on them she was able to grab the baby.  She pulled it up and out and hugged it to her chest. She had no idea how long the baby had been there but the little one was cold.

Sara had nothing to put on the baby. She laid it down on and dug through the trash. She found a few newspapers that were cleaner than the others and wrapped the baby up and as she hugged him she kept muttering, it’s going to be ok baby. It’s going to be ok. Hush my little baby don’t say a word. I won’t let anything happen to you like it did with me.

Sara didn’t really think anymore. She took the baby and went to her apartment. It was quiet. Her room-mate must be out on a job. She ran some warm water in the kitchen sink. She got one of their clean dish towels and one of her own tank tops.

Gently she lowered the baby into the warm water. Singing Rock-A-Bye-Baby she took great care to make sure the baby was clean all over. She found two bobby pins and used these to keep the home-made diaper on. She carefully placed the shirt on. Then she got a bath towel and wrapped the baby up.

The two of them laid on the bed and then both drifted into sleep. Soon the front door opened and her roommate came in. She stood in the bedroom door way with mouth gaped open.

“What in the hell is this? Who’s baby is that? Did you take up baby sitting now?” the roommate asked.

“I found him in the alley. He was crying. I had to help him.”

“You can’t keep no baby here. What are you going to do with him? What are you going to do take him along with you on your job?” the girl asked with laughter.

” I’m going home. I don’t want this life anymore. I am done with drugs. I am sick of men. I never asked for this life. You forced it on me”.

” What, you think you’re going to keep that thing? You, a mom? Don’t make me puke!”

Sara ignored her as her fingers played softly with the baby’s fingers. She got up off of the bed and took her suitcase out of the closet. Anything she could stuff in it, she did. Her roomy threw her arms up in the air saying, ” Girl you are a lost cause. Don’t try running back here when you sink out there. I gave you a chance and now you are blowing it.” She turned and left the room.

Sara grabbed the baby. Threw her purse over her shoulder and with the other hand grabbed her bag and the two left the apartment never to look back.

Actually Sara was not going home. She was not welcome and she didn’t want this innocent baby thrust into that atmosphere. She walked for blocks. Her legs were becoming weak. The drug had worn off, but she didn’t care. She was done with it all. This baby needs me. I need this baby.

It was getting very late and the chill of the night was going straight for her bones. She drew the towel closer around the baby. She had walked about another block when a police car pulled up to them.

” May I help you?’ he asked after he rolled his window down. At first Sara ignored him. After all he was a pig. Pigs were bad. Pigs put you in jail. The cop snailed along beside her. She kept walking.

She heard his car door. He was getting out. Then he was standing right in front of her. ” What’s going on here Miss? Are you in trouble? Look I can help just tell me what the problem is.”

Sara looked in to the officer’s eyes. She knew that she had no where else to turn. She spoke softly, ” I found this baby. I took him home with me and gave him a bath. I dressed him. He needs me and I need him. I am going to take care of him. Can you help us?’

The officer’s heart melted. He recognized the woman as a hooker. He had arrested her many months ago. He hadn’t seen her on the streets for so long he figured she had gotten her act together.

He led the two back to the car. He radioed in that he had a female with him and he was going to a homeless shelter to drop her off. He started the car and they went to the home. Before letting her out he told her, “It is late lady. I will be back tomorrow afternoon. We will then take the baby to the hospital to have it checked out. I will go back to the station and see if I can find any info out on him.”

Sara nodded and got out of the car. The officer carried her bag and let the two in the front door. He explained to the woman behind the desk that these two needed a safe haven for the night and he would be back tomorrow to pick them up. Then he said, “good nite, see you tomorrow”.

Was this cop for real? He didn’t even take me in to the cop shop? Who was this guy? I am not going to stay here and delay the obvious fact that he will take my baby tomorrow. I must leave now.

It was as if someone had a hold of her shoulders keeping her in place. Her mind wanted to flee but her feet stood their ground. The lady led them to a small room. It had a twin bed and one shabby dresser with paint chipped off. There was a portable closet where she put her bag.

The lady left them and Sara laid on the bed putting the baby on her stomach. She could feel the grumbling of the baby’s tummy. Food, oh my god, this baby is probably starving. How long has it been since he has eaten? What does he eat?

She looked at him trying to guess his age. She looked in his mouth but saw no teeth. She got up and took the baby back to the front desk. She explained to the woman, ” We had to leave in such a hurry I forgot to pack the baby’s bottles and food. Is there any way you can help us?”

The lady said,”just a moment, let me go check. We have a pantry back here where people drop off donations”. A few minutes later the woman came back with two jars of baby food and three pre-filled bottles. She handed them to Sara with a smile, ” I hope this helps.”

Sara thanked her and returned to her room. She was looking at the baby food jars when a knock at the door sounded. When she opened it there was the woman with a baby spoon, some baby clothes and a box of diapers.

Tears welled in Sara’s eyes. She had only known this baby a few hours and yet she loved him more than life. Grateful for the items she took them and thanked her.

She opened the one jar of applesauce and fumbled the first few tries of feeding the baby. It was if she could not get the food in that sweet little mouth fast enough. Afterwards she opened up one of the bottles and the baby drank until it was empty.

Sara took the towel and the tank top off. She put a clean diaper on and dressed him. Her heart fell to her knees as she picked him up and he smiled at her. She placed him next to her heart and whispered, ” I love you baby. I am going to name you Joseph. I learned about him when I would go to that church when I was a kid. Joseph, yes it fits you perfect.”

The two laid back down and sleep came easily. The next morning the woman appeared at her door with new bottles and two more jars of baby food. She had also brought Sara a tray with some boxed cereal and a cup of milk. One cake doughnut was there also. Sara smiled at the woman. ” I will never forget you mam. You have done more for my baby and me than my own mom.”

” I know life can be tough. I have had my share of sorrows in life too. You two just rest until the officer comes back.”

The baby napped and Sara got her bag out of the closet. She took some clean clothes and went into the bathroom and washed up as good as she could with what she had. She came back out to check on Joseph. She thought back to how her own mom had kicked her out so easily. Was a man’s attention so powerful that it overtook your own children? I would never do that to you little one. No matter what happens in life I will never do that to you.

Lunch time came and a sandwich and chips and a carton of milk were given to her. After she ate the door sounded and when she opened it there stood the officer. She let him in and he stood gazing out the one window. It was if he was trying to figure out the correct wording he wanted to say.

He turned to Sara and said, ” I have checked the files. There is no report of any lost or stolen baby. The hospital has no records of anyone coming through the ER for maternity care. I have a feeling this baby was plain not wanted. It is a darn shame when things like this happen. I think some kind of miracle happened here. What do you think?”

Sara looked at him and then lowered her eyes. She wasn’t sure where he was going with this conversation. She went to the bed and picked up baby Joseph and rocked him in her arms.

The officer could see that this woman cared for this baby. He tapped his fingers to his lips and then said, ” I have an idea. Do you want to hear it?” Sara nodded. ” I know of a place about five miles from here. It is a home where girls go to have their babies. Now this place is a little different. The people there teach you how to properly care for a baby.  They exam the baby and make sure he is alright and they make certain medical care is provided. They set you up with counselors and help you get a job. The state comes in after paper work has been approved and pays for your transportation and baby care. What do you think about going there?”

Sara had fat tears streaming down her cheeks. She quickly thought back to the alley. The alley where she had almost killed herself. The blackened space where she cried out to God for help. There must be a God. There has to be a God. This should not be going this way. Oh God you have answered me. You have heard my cries.

She told the officer,”Yes, I will go there. I need all the help I can get to be the best mommy ever to Joseph.”

“Joseph? You named him already? Now I want to remind you of something very important young lady. This is not a permanent situation. The search will continue to find who this baby belongs to. When we find the mother, you will have to give um Joseph up. Do you understand?”

Sara nodded but for the first time in her life she felt confident that she was going to be Joseph’s mother for the rest of her life.

The officer waited for her to gather her things together. After helping her get everything in the car they drove the silent drive to their new home. A large white house with black shutters adorning each sparkling window. A huge wrap-a-round porch with a porch swing and several rockers spaced around.

They were led into the house by the house manager and shown to their new room. She gasped as she saw the pretty pink bedspread with ruffles all around the edges. Pink matching curtains stood surrounding  the window. In one corner was a rocking chair. Beside the rocker was a crib. In the crib was a stuffed animal and a quilt for the baby.

There were not one but two dressers for their clothes and a closet you could walk into. Sara laid down little Joseph in the crib and walked over to the house parent and gave her a big hug. With tears rolling down her face she said, ” thank you so much for helping us Marge. Thank- you God for hearing my prayers”. The manager glanced over at the policeman and saw watery eyes.

It just so happened that this officer was not only a policeman protecting the city, he was also a teacher for high-school students at a church near by. The policeman bid his farewells and are you surprised to know that they never found that baby’s mother? Are you shocked at the miracle that has been performed by our almighty father in heaven?

God works in mysterious ways. His ways are not our ways.  His reasons are not our reasons. But when he knows we are sincere and we are ready to make a change for the positive he can move mountains.

There was a rumor about a year later that one of the ladies at the homeless shelter was starting her first year in college. Her baby was walking and had quite a vocabulary at such a young age.I sure hope it was Sara and Joseph, the officer thought to himself.

Did You Know Her?

neo, betty

Grandma was a 92-year-old with a mind  age of 50. She lived in a flat  in downtown Seattle. A city full of life and lights that never dimmed. Betty lived with two other occupants, her two dogs, Frankie and Johnnie.

These two dogs watched over their master, never forgetting that at one time they each had lived in a shelter for homeless dogs.  Frankie was a golden retriever and Johnnie was a black lab. She had adopted the two at the same time, both being about the age of one year.

Each year at the holidays, you could find Betty deeply involved with the less fortunate. She could be found in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, or you may see her out on the front line, filling up plates, with fresh slices of turkey, green beans, and a nice piece of juicy ham.

Betty also spent many Sunday afternoons at the nursing homes, reading to the patients, or going room to room to pop in and say a quick hello. Hospitals got to know her visits so well, that she was known as God’s angel.

When she wasn’t involved with helping someone else, she could be found in  her apartment, feeding her dogs first and then rummaging through her cupboards to find herself something to eat.

Her cupboards were less than half-filled. If you peeked inside, you would possibly see a few cans of soup, some canned vegetables, and a can or two of meat. In her refrigerator, you would see water in a jug, maybe some milk, and always her stored glass jar of ground coffee.

Betty had been brought up by parents who were well-known. They had made their fortunes by selling and buying stocks. She remembered many parties that had been held in their home. Lots of food and drink available, smoke lingering in the air from cigars, and gambling.

Betty also remembered many a Christmas’s, when the door knocker would sound, and her father would open the door to someone hungry and cold, and her father would shut the door in their faces, yelling harshly at the beggars to get a job free loader.

Betty remembered pretty dresses, and shoes and socks that matched. A nice warm bed at nights, stuffed dolls standing on shelves. A warm bath awaited her each morning, as her nanny came in to wake her up.  Meals were served in the large dining room. A long, rectangle table with many chairs, but the only one being seated at most meals was herself.

Betty was not schooled in the public schools. She had a private tutor that came to her home five days a week, and for four hours each visit, she was taught how to read and write.

Playing with other children was prohibited. Her father wanted no one less than his own kind  entering his door. Betty’s best friend was her nanny and her dolls. She would line up her dolls at her child size table, and with the help of Sara, the nanny, tea and cookies would be served to each of her friends.

When Betty grew up, she took with her memories of her childhood. Loneliness was her biggest shadow, and she vowed she would do her best to never see a sad face again. She worked for her parents in the office, that was in one of the tallest buildings down town.

She made a few close friends, and dated some, but never found the perfect mate, so marriage never entered her life. She saved money, but never invested. She followed the rules of her parent’s home, until one day she was sick at heart of the stuffiness, and broke a way. She found a flat, and then visited second-hand stores, filling her apartment with golden treasures.

Eventually she retired from the family business and with her tidy savings in the local bank, she went to work for a small business, where the goal was to help those in need. It was one of the stores she had went to when she was looking for furniture. Here she worked behind the counter.

She helped customers fill out paper work. She made calls to help some to retain heat during the cold winter months. She partook in putting meals together, and making sure that no one left the front door empty-handed.

Betty did this kind of work for many years. As she went home from work she would be tired, but it was a good tired. She loved her home, but walking into quietness, sometimes would make her sad. She decided to visit an animal shelter, and this is where she acquired her two best friends.

Each night she would turn the key in her door, and when it was opened, there would be Frankie and Johnnie, with tails wagging. She was always welcomed with love, and loyalty. She would go to the cupboards, and get two cans of dog food out and feed them first, before she thought about her own needs.

After the dogs finished eating, they would all sit on the couch, she would pet and talk to them, and they in turn would give her kisses and love. Betty felt that there was nothing else in her life that she could possibly need.

As years passed, Betty’s body began to tire out. Arthritis had set in and walking was  more difficult.  At the  age of 82, she retired from her job, and spent most of her time with her dogs, but something was missing. She did not feel as if she was doing enough to help others. She needed more out of her life.

This is when she bumped into the homeless shelters and soup kitchens. There was no money to be made, but she didn’t care. What she received from this job was far more valuable than any dollar. Sometimes she took scraps home to her two dogs. These treats she provided, also gave her more love than she could ever want for.

Betty lived like this for many more years, until one time as she walked in her front door, she walked into silence. Frankie had went to sleep for ever on her side of the bed on the floor, and she found Johnnie sitting quietly near by.

This saddened Betty so much, she sat on her bed and cried for the loss of her good friend. She called the maintenance man and asked for his help in taking care of the dog’s body. It was less than two weeks later, that Johnnie died of loneliness  for his friend.

Betty found herself alone. She would walk with her cane over to the living room window, and look out over the city, seeing life but no living, lights with no glow. She was growing very weak herself, and knew that her own time was coming to an end, and yet she knew that she had lived the best life and had helped so many.

She turned from the window, and walked to the kitchen, and taking two cans of dog food out of the cabinet, set them down, but never opened them. Tears slid down her face as she realized this habit could be no more, and placed the two cans back on the shelf.

She was not hungry, and she went into her bathroom, and washing her face and brushing her hair, she then went to her bedroom, and slipping into bed, she pulled her worn blankets up around her face, and thinking about Frankie and Johnnie, she went to sleep, never to wake again.

Her death was discovered by the postal man. He knocked on her door out of habit for many years. He would hand her mail to her, and she would stand and chat with him a few moments, brightening his day, but today no one answered the door.

The next days paper showed the following information. Betty, 92 years old, passed a way in her sleep peacefully. She had never married, but had adopted two dogs that were her children and the joy of her life. She dedicated her life to helping the less fortunate. Everyone knew her name and her heart. She never met a stranger. Betty’s parents had died many years earlier. There were no brothers or sisters. Betty had an estimated one million dollars, which has been left to the city to be spent on building new homeless shelters for people and animals. Betty will be missed by many. Rest in peace my friend.

You Are The Best

She didn’t know me at birth. She walked into my life when I was four. There was not just one but two of us, a total of four. She held down a full-time job. She was very intelligent. I went through her elementary and secondary school cards, and never saw anything lower than an A. She was a proud woman, her weakness holding in her feelings and not letting anyone know of her hurt. She held two jobs in her life since I came to know her. One was a telephone operator, and the other with an electric company. She worked at the electric company the longest, working there until she could retire. She worked her way up from a teller all the way to a super boss. She was in charge of different areas of her job. She took her work very seriously, not showing too many smiles, but all knew she cared about them, and she was proud of all of them. She gave a piece of herself to many. She helped to open a homeless shelter for mothers and their children who had been abused or evicted from their homes. This home still stands tall and strong yet today. She was a member of her church, having various positions through out her years. She purchased a camper and when small fairs came to surrounding towns, she and he would sell elephant ears and give all proceeds to the home for the homeless, asking for no help with all that it takes to run this camper. She took excellent care of the two of us. We were clean and dressed nice at all times. She made sure that we had  good educations and made sure that Al was given the best opportunities with his disabilities. She was there when I got married, and she was there when I was divorced. She was a wonderful grandmother. I remember at her funeral someone spoke up and told about how she would over hear a stranger who was struggling to pay their bill. She knew that they were not a repeat customer, looking for a hand out. When this person left, she would go pay their bill without letting them know it was her that did this. She loved God. I never knew a night to go by that she didn’t study in her bible. I have it today, and it shows all of her favorite passages and notes that she had written in it. After she left us, I found lots of notes around reminding her to pray for me or another family member or friend.  She worked very hard her whole life, taking in two children that were not hers. Building a life together with dad, staying fully committed, even when he said things that were hurtful. She prayed for him for many years, that he may find God, and five years before she left us, dad came to know the Lord. This to her, was her greatest reward in her marriage. I don’t know your personal life. We do not get that intimate with each other on here, but I believe that I had the best mother, any girl could ask for. She took me in, although I was not hers by blood, and treated me as if I was her own. We had our differences, but who doesn’t. The guilt I carried for years, I was fortunate enough, to be able to ask her for forgiveness before she left. It was so sudden. She woke one morning, and went to use the restroom and never came out. When dad realized she had been in there too long, he went to check and found her slumped on the stool. The hospital said she had an aneurism. She was taken to a larger city hospital where she lay for seven days, in a coma. On the sixth day, the doctors came to dad and me and asked if we would like to let her go, as if we decided to hang on, only ten percent of her would remain, the rest would be a vegetable. We loved her dearly, and we cried together, holding on to each other for support, while we decided to be unselfish and let her go. On the seventh day, we held her hand as she slipped away from us. It will never leave my heart. She remains with me forever, a woman who took two children in, and with disabilities, and the normal challenges of a ready-made family, she was better than any mother who gave birth to us. It is almost Mother’s Day, and although she has been gone for eleven years, I want to say, I love you Mom. You are forever in my heart. You were and are still the best.