Thank You for Ruining Me, Ms. Darlena

I may have mentioned that I’m presently reading Hearts of Fire. The stories of eight women in underground churches in different parts of the world is amazing. I received it last year but had not opened a single page until last week. I was part-way through Gladys’  story about how her husband and two sons were martyred for their faith when I lost it.Prior to my er, moment,  I had been commiserating with myself about a housing repair I need to do. I am without the funds presently to take care of this issue and woke up, wondering how I would take care of it quickly. I checked my retirement to see if I could borrow. I considered asking for a hand from family or others. None of what came to mind felt like anything more than desperation. After all, the specific repair is (for now) one that causes me discomfort more than anything else.As I sat in the bathroom before church, having read the specifics about what happened to Gladys’ family, I began to think about Ms. Darlena.My Christopher and I were fairly regular volunteers with a food ministry in our town that services needy and homeless persons and families. One of the first people we met when we started was Ms. Darlena. She lived in a tent in a field. Over time, she came to be one of the people we always looked for when we were there — she would look for us as well, so when Christopher got sick and I still popped in from time to time, she would ask after him and send hugs for me to give him from her. There was one day that she came up to me with this giant smile and shared that the lady she rented space from (that’s right — she ‘paid’ to live in a tent in a field) had given her a trailer so she didn’t have to live in a tent anymore. She went on to say that the trailer didn’t have running water but she was so grateful to have a home.Did I mention that Ms. Darlena was probably in her 60s? Yeah.We hadn’t been there in quite some time prior to Christopher’s last bout with illness and after he Departed, I made up my mind to go back to volunteering. It’s something we did together but something that we both believed in, so it didn’t make sense for me to simply stop. I’d heard rumors that Ms. Darlena had also Departed and it was confirmed for me the last time I was there. She had lived a hard life and her Leaving was equally as difficult. Let’s just say it has been said the cause was not natural.I began to sob. Wail, actually.I cried great big tears that dripped down my face. My distress upset the dogs, who came to me and tried their best to provide comfort by licking and getting as close to me as physically possible. I couldn’t stop, despite their efforts.How could I have been upset by one little household repair that I couldn’t do when there are people like Gladys and Ms. Darlena out there, whose lives are beyond my imagining? I asked God what He wants of me. I asked forgiveness for my little worries. I asked Him to tell me what I am to do.I haven’t gotten an answer yet, but I was ruined. The idea that there are so many men and women whose lives are so very hard made my heart hurt. There are others, but Ms. Darlena was the one who got me today.I am grateful for the time I got to spend with her and I am so sorry that she is gone, that I hadn’t seen her in so long. But I am hopeful that if she reads this on her Other Side Internet, that she will give my Christopher a hug for me.

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