She hadn’t eaten in days. Not that it mattered because she couldn’t keep anything down anyway. She had known she was getting worse for quite a while but kept hoping it would go away. If she just tried harder, stayed clean, but the disease kept growing.
Her friends had been watching her spiral further and further down. In fact, they knew she was sick before she did. If they had still been around, she would have called them, but as soon as they saw the signs of her slipping away, they quietly turned and walked away.
She needed to get to the hospital, but she was too weak to get herself there. She knew it might even be too late.
Maybe they had been afraid she was contagious, at least that wouldn’t have cut so deeply. But she knew they were more afraid for their own reputations. If they continued to associate with her they would be labeled, judged, and left alone to die as she had been. They chose their “social security” over her soul.
They would hear of her demise, for sure. They would drop their eyes and shake their heads, sad that it had come to this for her, but secretly they would be relieved that they didn’t catch it and were safe…for now.
When someone sneezes we instinctively back up. Who knows what they might have? We don’t want to catch it and risk spreading it.
When someone’s illness is the result of their poor choices, especially when stigma is attached, we raise the threat level. We not only back up, we back away.
We notice the warning signs. Maybe we say something to them but probably we don’t. We move back for different reasons, but for all of us, as far as we can without causing undue attention.
We don’t want that nasty virus of adultery, addiction, deception. Bad reputations can be contagious. So we let our friends slip on to their own destruction.
But that’s precisely when they need us to press in.
No matter how inconvenient, unpleasant, or reputation-damaging it is, that’s what Love does.
We don’t enable or co-depend. We do gather up, carrying the sick and dying to the hospital. We bring the wounded hearts, minds, and souls out of darkness and into Light.
Sometimes we need to help clean the wound. Sometimes our prayers and presence are all it takes to motivate. But more often we are called to sit in the filth with our friends and let society’s insults and innuendos fly by.
It’s not too late to make the next right decision.
A warmth began to fill one of her distant friends, one that slowly, lovingly, overpowered the fear. It wasn’t too late, but it was very close.
Her doorway had been dark and empty the past thousand times she’d looked through it. Then it slowly cracked open, and warmth, light, and an unsure smile filled the space.
As her friend gathered her up she gave a weak smile. She was going to make it after all.
#loveinaction #bethelove #bethelight #makethenextrightdecision
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Creating Systems for Courageous Kindness
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