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Friday, October 26, 2012

The people that shape me {Mary & Beth}

{Last call on the giveaway for Karen's sweet book!  Enter while you can!}

When I was in college, I did an internship at a local charitable organization.  I had many varied tasks during that internship, and I learned a lot.  But the one part of the job that I remember the most was the work that this organization did with homeless women in the community who found themselves pregnant.  At the time I worked there, always under someone's supervision, there were two women, clients, that I came to know.

Mary**, I'd guess was in her early thirties, had had 2 children who were then in someone else's care.  She had a history of mental concerns.  Mary was about 7 months pregnant when I met her.  She had been without a home for a while... a while like her hair and her skin and her teeth showed the wear of living.   The organization provided her with medical care, a group home, counseling, and tried to help her "find a path" in life.  Through counseling, Mary expressed an interest in keeping her baby... and sometimes she didn't.  Mary's thoughts were inconsistent at best.  Mary delivered her baby, returned to the half-way house to recover, and left unannounced with her baby a few weeks later.  

The second woman was Beth**.  Beth was not much more than a child herself, she was just 18 years.  I met with Beth many times, taking her to doctor appointments, the ER, helping her enroll for W.I.C. and food stamps, study for her GED, and dropping by the group home and talking with her about what she wanted out of life.  Beth was closer to my age and she confided in me.  Beth had had a troubled childhood, and this ultimately led to a rebellious teen.  Beth very very much wanted her baby.  In her approximate words, this baby "would be the answer to my problems and would always love me."  She confided in me that she had never really felt love from any other person, including her family or her own parents, and she was confident that this baby would love her unconditionally.  I tried with all my might to explain that just the opposite is the case, that mothers are the one that find themselves in the task of loving their children unconditionally, and children will/might come to a time (maybe many times and through lengthy seasons) when they do not love or like their mothers.  And it was a parent's role to love the child unconditionally despite anything else.  Beth, possibly because she didn't want to, or maybe because she didn't have the capacity to, could not grasp this concept.  Beth saw her baby as her way out.

My internship completed, I graduated, and moved to the big city.
I never knew what became of Beth... but I did hear she delivered a healthy baby boy several months later.

Mary was evidently more mentally unstable than anyone had realized.  One night, a several weeks after disappearing from the group home, she wrapped up her baby in a blanket, and as a train approached placed him on the railroad tracks.  And Mary walked away.
A stranger, in the right place at the right time, witnessed this, picked up the baby before the train came, and contacted authorities.  The baby boy was placed in foster care.
I never knew what became of Mary either.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this.  Except to say that these women shaped and molded me.  22 years later, I still think of them, and their sons, and about human nature in general.  About how God intertwines the paths of people.
And all of this amazes me... the web of people in the world are how we often unknowingly impact one another.
And makes me realize how small I am in comparison to the Lord's handiwork.
I'm reminded that we don't always get to know the end of the story or get to wrap things up in a nice little box.


**I know it's over 2 decades later, but I've still changed these names.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, my heart sunk when I read about Mary and the baby on the train tracks. How absolutely amazing that someone was there at just the right time. I got chills up and down my spine. :(

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    Replies
    1. me too. still.
      I honestly don't think she meant harm by it. I think she was just getting through life day by day the best she could. I wish there was more help for all out there.

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  2. Your post is very touching. I also appreciate the way your last two sentences summed it all up. I think it's one reason that I try to do what I believe is the right thing ~ every time. It could mean something to someone at that moment or down the road. We never know...

    Your new follower - Reia from www.southcountrysides.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your post is very touching. I also appreciate the way your last two sentences summed it all up. I think it's one reason that I try to do what I believe is the right thing ~ every time. It could mean something to someone at that moment or down the road. We never know...

    Your new follower - Reia from www.southcountrysides.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Both of these stories are just amazing...I can see why they made a lasting impact. Unfortunately, there are too many people who are not ready to parent who try to do it anyway, for whatever reasons. So sad.

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  5. goosebumps!
    You have a beautiful family. Thanks for visiting my blog. I so enjoyed your story. And your sock monkey too!

    ReplyDelete

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