Sunday, July 02, 2006
I'm packing up a box of yarn to send to my new friend Carmen, who lives in the village we just visted. She loves to knit and crochet--she has boxes and bins full of finished and unfinished projects. She gave me a beautiful scarf that is blue with little red hearts crocheted down the center. While Carmen didn't really admit to it, I think her hobby is a balm for her trouble heart . . .
Carmen grew up in the village and married there. I don't know a lot of her story, but I do know that she had three daughters--and discovered that her husband was molesting them. With this terrible knowledge, Carmen took her daughters and moved to Fairbanks, and stayed there until her youngest girl was living independently.
And then she went back to her husband.
Only to find that her husband had moved in with his girlfriend, Lori . . .
The two women began to squabble over this pathetic man, and for a time he bounced back and forth between the two like a volleyball. Not long ago, however, during a drunken brawl, he beat up Lori so badly that she decided to press charges. When the state troopers came to escort this ladies' man to jail, both wife and girlfriend were each tearfully clinging to a shackled arm.
Such is life in the village.
In case you are tempted to judge Carmen, there's more: her father hung himself when she was a child and then she found her brother's body after he ended his life the same way. After spending a few hours with Carmen one evening, Kim (my calling buddy) and I realized that this broken woman walked a thin line between reality and a world of tormenting confusion. In fact, several times during our conversation she grew agitated and asked us, "Do you think I'm crazy?"
We assured Carmen that we considered her to be quite sane, given the traumatic events of her life. Kim told her that she knew Jesus loved her and had good plans for her life. Carmen's mood brightened suddenly and she grabbed our hands and asked us to pray for her.
We gladly complied, ending our prayer with the verse: "for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind."
"Amen!" Carmen added, then gave us both hugs.
"Thank you for the hope you've brought to my life."
Carmen's got a long, hard road ahead of her. But she's made good choices in the past (she's been sober for 17 years), and I believe she will continue to do so in the future. And I continue to pray for her each time I see the beautiful heart scarf she gave me hanging on my wall . . .