Saturday, June 25, 2016

What Matters Most?

She'd left the papers on a table in the corner of the room. One of the  volunteers brought them over to me and said "We won't hear from that one again. I guess she wasn't serious about improving herself."

"That one" was 23 and had never worked  with the exception of cleaning a church for a few months.

She told me she had no friends, that she was shy and mostly slept and watched TV.

I asked her if she was depressed and she nodded.

Are you talking to anyone about your depression? 

I had to strain to hear her answer.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. 

I called over one of the folks volunteering who has health care connection and we talked for 15 minutes. She promised she'd follow up and get some help.

She smiled and thanked us and left. Her papers along with an appointment for a job interview didn't go with her


I'm really tired of people who can't seem to get out of their own way, ya know?

Yeah, but we don't ever know whats going on underneath, ya know?

So we are supposed to save the world? 


I have  an image in my mind that never goes away. 

I took a short cut through a school playground while I was walking to a friends house. He was sitting on the steps. His sister was bouncing a ball off the wall and singing some little kid song. 

Hey John! Hey John, I'm over here. 

 Our eyes locked for a second and I kept moving. I pretended I didn't hear him.

Hey John!!!

I started walking faster until I couldn't hear him any longer 

I used to take great pains to let people know I never participated in the teasing and the cruelty he'd endured. 

It dawned on me one night when I couldn't sleep that what I did was worse. 

I ignored him. 

I ran and made sure no one ever associated me with HIM.  Life at 14 is tough enough. 

The image of him on the school steps looking at me, almost begging me to acknowledge him, started about 6 months after he hung himself. I wondered if I'd stopped that day and talked, even if it were for a minute or two, would the ending have been different? 


Her contact information is on one of those pieces of paper isn't it? Maybe if we were to call her.......

No, if she's not willing to take the time to follow up with us, I'm not gonna waste a phone call. 

Do you mind if I try?


August 28, 1970

That's the day he went down to his basement, threw a rope over the rafters and hung himself. He was 17.

A few years ago I found his grave when we went home for a visit.

Have you ever just stopped and realized
that if you hadn't met a certain person 
your entire life would be different?

Every day.