By Nicole C.richardson
I've recently moved back to New Jersey and a couple of weeks ago I was trying to re-establish old friendships that I had left behind. During this time, I had got into contact with two long lost friends whom I have had the chance to hangout with and talk to on the phone. I was really happy to locate my friends (no, not on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), but the good old-fashion way via word on the street. It's amazing because one simple hello to a familiar face was able to connect me to my two friends.
Later that week, I went to church to rehearse for a praise dance performance for our upcoming Women's Day celebration. Before rehearsal, my pastor told everyone to write down what they wanted God to do in their lives on a sheet of paper and put it into the basket. Some of my requests were to get into graduate school, find a better job, and for God to allow me to be a help to others. To my knowledge, I did not realize that some of my requests would be answered so soon.
By the time Saturday rolled around, I had just finished having a good conversation with one of my long, lost friends when the doorbell rang. My mother answered the door and told me that someone was asking for me. Astonished, I replied, "Who would be asking for me at 9 o'clock at night?" From a distance, I peeked my head between the door and saw a woman who I barely recognized. It took a while for my brain to process the image of this familiar face. As I looked closer, I realized it was my 9th grade best friend from high school.
She was limped over with a bottle of liquor in her hand. I stepped through the doorway and gave her a hug. Her frail hands wrapped around my shoulders, and she began to sob. I could not conceive what was going on. With concern I asked was she okay. I did not know what to do. I honestly thought the streets paved her way to substance abuse.
My mom and I invited her into our home. She was very frantic, emotionally unstable and suicidal.
Her cousin had just dropped dead and she was wandering the streets when she found herself at my address. She said she was contemplating whether or not to knock on the door, but she saw the light was on through the window and knocked on the door.
My mother and I prayed for her and tried to encourage her as much as we could until my aunt, who is a counselor came to give her advice.
She began rambling about the streets being a dark place full of death, how she has stayed up for four days straight to watch her surroundings, how she has been homeless for several months, how she had to beg for water and no one would give it to her, how she wanted to terminate her life, and how she was without love.
She wanted to know why no one loved her, why her mother didn't love her, why no one taught her how to love herself, why men used and abused her emotionally, mentally, and physically; why she wears her heart on her sleeve and people take her love for granted.
There were so many questions asking why until my mother told her that Jesus loves her. But she couldn't see how and wanted to know where was his love.
All she could see were people telling her they loved her then abandoning her in life. My aunt asked her why did she come knocking on the door. She replied, "Because I saw the light."
My aunt said, "Yes, you saw the light. Jesus is the light, and he led you here. It was not by accident. You came to a place where there is life. Darkness surrounded you, but you were drawn near the light."
After talking for hours, my friend began to sober up. My mother had given her a change of clothes, and we all
prayed a prayer of protection for her. We wanted to know what she wanted to do. She said that she wanted to go around the corner and find out about her cousin who had died suddenly. So, my aunt and I drove her to a house and when she came back she told us that she had a place to stay. I hugged her and my aunt invited her to church. When we left her, I thanked my aunt for coming by and my mother and I talked a little longer about this ongoing experience.
When I finally went to sleep, I had a hard time. I kept thinking about all the things I have. I have parents who love me, a roof over my head, family, support, food, a warm bed to sleep in, and love among other things. I am not alone, but there are so many people who do not have these things. It also had me thinking was this my special assignment from God? I asked in my prayer request to be a help to others then my friend came knocking on my door.
It has been several days since I encountered this experience and this story is far from over. The phrase "Am I my Sister's Keeper" keeps ringing in my ear. When my friend, who I haven't seen in 16 years, came to visit in her unstable state should I have closed my door and turned away? No, I became physically responsible and bound to help her. It became my responsibility to care for her. The Bible teaches us to care for and love one another. This is God's greatest commandment. If I am to draw men, then I am to draw them with love and kindness.
As I write this, I have been keeping in contact with my friend through Facebook when she is able to log on. Currently, we are working to put her life back together. I wanted her to know that she is not alone and that her friend will be with her. It didn't matter that I hadn't seen her in 16 years. What mattered was that she came to me. Without knowing, she was drawing near the light and I was on assignment for God. My assignment: Be a help to others in time of need. Am I my sister's keeper? The answer is yes.
Nicole C. Richardson is a copy editor and writer for Envisage Productions. She is also a poet, creative writer and a film maker. You can reach Nicole @ firstname.lastname@example.org