Cry Purple

One woman's journey through homelessness, crack addiction, and prison, to blindness, motherhood, and happiness

Posts Tagged ‘empathy’

It’s Not Odd; It is GOD!

Posted by crypurple on February 17, 2013

Hi guys!

Before I begin this posting, thanks for all the wonderful remarks on my book.  When I read lines such as, “It has opened my eyes”, or “Changed my views”, then that is truly exciting.

Many of you know I am a Christian but I touched very little on it in my book.  Believe it or not there was a reason for that!

I wanted those still into drugs, or in prostitution –  those that might not be there yet with God –  to not be turned off and to be able to receive a message that it is never too late, no matter what you have done, to find a better path!

So from atheists to addicts active in addiction , I wanted to appeal to them and those in-between.

During my pregnancy with Ricky and after his birth, I had a fear of going out side, the whole stepping out side our tiny one room apartment –  and I don’t mean one bedroom, I mean one room apartment, where we shared a bathroom with another small apartment.

I would stand at the door entry, never stepping out alone. I found comfort and safety inside that apartment.

Matt would make me go out, for what ever reasons, and having him with me made me feel safer.

After Ricky’s birth, I had to go out and work on overcoming my fears, and learn to live my life now blind.

We moved to our small rental house in the ‘hood, just a block where I had worked the streets for years.

I cringed at the thought of going outside.

Each day, I would just do the “It is for Ricky. I have to do this” self talking – my way to do what needed to be done.   However, upon my return, I would  find myself diving deep in sadness, and I would sleep to sleep through the emotional strain of leaving the house.

With the years of my being on the streets, well, let’s say my personality was not so charming.

I would stand on corners and rant, cursing those that were from the set that would attempt to speak to me. “ I am working! Go away”!

Warm and fuzzy I was not!

At this time I was drug free, but still lacking in social skills, and charm. I had not sought God, but somehow he sought me.

One day, I was alone in our apartment. Ricky was at daycare, and Matt was at work.

Walking into our living area, I saw a vision. I immediately  stopped walking. I was totally without sight and I was seeing, as if I was watching myself along my familiar streets of Independence Avenue. I was smiling and I was giving brown bags of what I could not tell, then. I watched the receivers open the bags and begin eating sandwiches. I saw, vividly, faces of old friends as this vision/day dream, whatever you would chose to call it, moved through my mind’s eye. I sat in the living room, stunned at the experience, yet excited to have a vision while I was awake that was so real, so clear.

I’ll never forget the calm wave that came upon me and a voice that said “That is you.”

I remember saying out loud “What?  Hello?  Who’s there?”

Moments later, I had another vision. I was in a room, I was watching my self with a group of people I could not identify clearly. The faces were blurred, unlike the vision I had just moments before where I clearly knew those I was with, giving brown bags of filled with sandwiches.  Everybody was laughing and we were making these sandwiches.  It was odd,because  for many years laughter was such a stranger to me, although holding my Ricky made me smile.

Then, as if a DVD was rolling in my head, I saw in my minds eye experiences I had always questioned, “How did I live through that?” I saw me in a trunk of a car, tied up, I saw a flash of my being stabbed and pushed out of a car. I saw me being grey-taped and hog-tied, I saw myself in the room with those shooters that killed my friend.

I shuddered, those painful horrific moments in my life on the streets, each had however a common theme, a presence I could not make out.

As these horrific scenes flashed through my mind’s eye, as I was watching them happen to me in vivid color and detail, I then saw a large something –  not sure what it was…but it was massive. Then I saw a dot on it. It very quickly came into focus in my mind’s eye. I was a speck, it was me, that tiny speck on that massive plain. It was glowing and peaceful, and it was as if the object began to cup me in it and peace came over me from the disturbing flashes of experiences of my past

I was back on my old corner where I had turned tricks, giving sandwiches to a gal I had worked the streets with just a few years ago.

She was receiving a bag of food and hugging me. I was in the passenger side of a car. I found that odd, as she and I were street enemies. It was common knowledge on the streets that we disliked each other a great deal and fought on street corners often.

Then, although this all seems like it took forever, it happened in only a moment of time and  the vision was gone..

I knew deep in my heart my soul this was God.

Then one last flash came to me. As a youth I had been saved – I had given my life to Christ. I had another friend whom had done it, so I did too.

I had attended church. I would go for a few weeks then stop, go to a different church and then stop.

But I had indeed asked Christ to come into my heart.

I sobbed.

I realized then that, all along, God was with me through my journey of addiction. He was present in all of those experiences. Then I realized that he told me that I would be feeding my friends in the very area where I had existed for so many years.

I spoke out loud, as I was wiping the tears, ” But God, don’t you remember I am the blind girl now?”

I could not do that.

The last moment I had with God that day were his words. his voice saying, “Walk in faith, my child. You don’t need sight to walk in faith.”

The following day, I had a visitor, which I do share in my book, and felt I would just share that excerpt from the book…

From the book “Cry Purple”

So we moved to the little place, and my friends helped us get a few starter items for it from the thrift store. Soon afterwards, we had a visitor.

Someone was knocking at the door. I was scared to open it, but then I heard a woman say, “Hello! I’m Kris, from the church down the street.” I guess she could see me inside the house, as we were not done hanging curtains. Sometimes I have to remember that just because I can’t see, it doesn’t mean that others can’t see me!

I opened the door and let her in, and we visited. She invited us to church. It was just down the street, on the corner. I agreed. For sure, this was what I needed to continue on my path of growth, away from the streets!

Attending the church, I realized that it was located right across from my favorite corner, the one where I had worked for years, at Spruce and Independence Avenue. There were three churches there, one right on the corner. That one used to run me off all the time, or someone there would call the police if I was outside the church. The other one was on the hill across the street; it always had police parked in the parking lot ready to run me off.

Then there was this little church. It was very small, kind of like a little house, behind Sonic. I had slept in its doorway before, gotten high in the parking lot. I think I had even been invited in for service one year by someone who was going into the church on a Sunday morning. At the time, I was walking to the corner to work, returning from a dope house. I had of course kept walking.

Now here I sat inside that same church. I asked someone, wanting to make sure I was correct in my thinking about where it was. I was.

Feeling a connection, feeling drawn to attend, I joined that little church and got baptized. When I was taken out of the baptism water, I asked, while wiping the water away, in front of the congregation, “Can I join your outreach team now?”

You see, I had a dream. I had a vision of something pulling at my heart strings. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

They agreed, and I started attending the meetings. I sat in a meeting listening to their plans to reach out to the community. At last I had a moment to speak. I asked, “What about the homeless addicts and prostitutes who exist outside here, along this street?”

I told them that when we’re in addiction, it totally governs our thoughts. We don’t think about spending money on food. It isn’t on purpose; it’s like bondage. You mean to buy food, but then you think about what you did for that money, and it’s easier to get high, to wash away that thought, the guilt and shame. You’re fighting off the emotions with drugs, rather than food.

It was a go. We started Brown Bag Fridays. We took sandwiches, sometimes burritos, and sometimes $1 double cheeseburgers. We would drive up and down the streets of the area and ask if they were hungry. Rarely did anyone say no! But in that case, we would say, “You can always save it for later,” and they would take it.

We expanded, collecting coats and jackets and socks. We would go out on Christmas Eve and pass out goodie bags, also food. On Thanksgiving, we would put together a hot Thanksgiving meal and then drive up and down the streets, giving out hot meals.

This was my passion, my calling. I knew it. I knew in my heart that these folks needed us, that they would at least eat when we came through.

I would often meet up with my friends, the people I had co-existed with on the streets. My journey on the streets, through all those years, had given me an understanding of their lifestyle, an empathy, an understanding of their needs. I had walked in their shoes and had survived. Now I was filling a need, helping these people to not feel invisible, the way I had all those years, often wishing, even praying, for someone to pull up beside me and hand me food, with no strings attached — not having to be preached at, not having to be turned away due to having no shoes.

Now I had this huge passion for acceptance, for acceptance of those people right where they were.

Now my life was starting to become full. I was a new mom. I was also continuing to learn to live blind, becoming less scared as each week passed in my rehabilitation training. And now, with this new passion for community outreach, I was giving back, offering hope to those with none.

I was walking with blind faith.

From my book “Cry Purple”

I noticed with each passing day my responses where nicer, even sweeter if you may, I once very soon after my God experience, responded one way in my head, but out of my mouth were kind thoughtful words.. I remember, pausing, and saying out loud, wow did I say that?!

My dark despair was melting away, I was becoming softer, kinder thoughtful of not just my family, but of other’s, seeing perspective on larger scales, realizing one person at a time is wonderful to plant seeds of hope but if we change the views of society around us, that is where the stagnant perceptions can be changed.

I was learning to be interdependent with thos around me I had the passion they had the sight.

From that amazing experience in my life, God has open doors for me and placed people in my life to allow me to use my experiences, my mess and offer a educational message, of what life is really like on the streets, often I find it is far different than those I speak to had previously thought..

I have all these God winks I see in my life, I will just keeping loving God who never left me all those years I had left Him and always be thankful that on those nights I begged Him to let my life end, so I no longer had to live that life, as He had a plan, all those experiences would indeed mold me to do His work!

 

As for the vision that I was in the passenger side of a car, handing and hugging a girl I worked the streets for years, she and I in fact were enemies of sorts of the streets, always bulling one another, as I did experience that moment with a driver from that church he pulled beside her he said to your right I rolled the window down and said “Hey you hungry? Want a sandwich” she said sure, then she said Ellie? That was my street name, I paused, thinking oh my it is her it is Linda, we had duked it out on the streets a few times over the years, now I am here blind, unable to defend my self, then she reached in the car and hugged me, and kissed my cheek, and said thanks I am starving..”

I have tears in my eyes right now as I write about that as it is was such a confirmation of the vision I had alone in that living room that wonderful day. It is tooo a confirmation that God will remove our enemies.

Last year I would learn that Linda died, she had gotten clean and we went to some meetings together, but she just could not find that glimmer of hope to hold on until it got better, she returned to using and she was battleing cancer, instead of treatment she chose to numb the pain with Crack, her comforter, I can’t blame her it was mine for years as well.

She was at last unable to work the streets and get high she was admitted in the hospital and soon died.

God had made my enemy my friend, so for the last few years of her life she was indeed my friend.

I am so sad when a friend from the past does not make it.

Our lives don’t magically get better, and we carry scars for a life time, but we can heal, we can find hope and happiness…

So, I hope you enjoyed reading this. I have shared it with some. Some folks find it odd, the whole seeing without sight in those clear visions. I just say,”It’s not odd; it is God.”

I do believe that if I had not given my life to God  as a youth,  I would not have survived.  To me, in the visions, not only did He show me who I was to become, he clearly showed me he had me in  His hands, and I believe that is why I survived all the experiences in which I did.

Although I had turned away from God, he had truly never left me through my journey; he was always present.

And in his time He, indeed, reintroduced himself in my life.

We still have a very long way to sell enough books or collect enough donations for that little trailer house with that fenced yard, so if you have not shared the book with your friends,please do. I believe that by the end of this year Rickster and I will have two bedrooms, and that fenced yard for him to play and for me to plant flowers!!!

As I have learned on my journey, one thing for sure is that all things are possible with God. Even I, with no eyes, can have visions without sight!!!

All for now,

Many blessings,

Christine

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