Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement: November 2014

By Donna Clark RN, Director

Not every client we see is endearing. Issues like mental health illness, addictions, and poverty create personality changes that make some of our guests very difficult to love. Their instincts of survival often make them want everything in sight that is offered. Sometimes they get so “needy” we are inclined to shut them out both in our minds and hearts.

Alice is one of those persons who challenge our patience and out Christian hearts. She is bi-polar, addicted to heroin and will take almost any drug that passes in front of her. She is a beautiful woman who is an expert at manipulation. She is in and out of jail for petty crimes and inconsistent with her visits here at the office. When she walks in and is able to communicate, she takes up all attention with her dramas and needs. All of us realize we need to stop and take a breath asking for an extra measure of patience and understanding. By the time she leaves she has used up all we have to give and taken everything that has been put out as a giveaway.

Today she leaves with a back pack full of toiletry items, clothing, shoes, and food. Her last request of us today was transportation to the Emergency Department so she can get a doctor to prescribe nerve pills. Since she appears in no distress we refused. Alice has cried “wolf” so many times about her health that we have become immune to her complaints. Although, last week, when she was discharged from the hospital she was showing severe signs of a neurological disorder and she was scared. Having refused to go to another health care facility at the time of discharge she came to our office for guidance. Not liking our advice she chose to continue living homeless on the streets. She claims that she cannot read or write and is unable to follow our written instructions. She always has a reason why she is not following any of our suggested solutions to her problems.

It is not our job to judge her; it is our job to show God’s loving compassion to her and those around us. Each and every one of us is valued and loved by God. Because of God’s boundless compassion we can rely on God’s Spirit to guide and direct us in what we say and do. We have to remember Jesus’ words in Luke 12:6-7 and show that love as we reach out to those we serve.