Kneeling on the floor, I scoop her into my arms. Her body heaves with sobs. Her brokenness speaks through tears telling of the evil of jail. Her fear resonates in the reports of the lab tests, pneumonia, the progression of her cancer. Shame echoes as she shares experiences of sexual abuse as a child. A scarred identity that drove her into a life of humiliating addiction. Fifteen minutes into my visit, I am picking up the pieces of a fragmented life spilled on the white hospital blanket.
Why me, Lord? Why did you call me to be her friend? This is not easy. Yet the God of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble. Did the rain of pain come just recently so I knew the Comforter afresh? So I could be His arms embracing His daughter?
The flowers in my hand smash against her back. Will they endure this embrace? Will I endure this pain for the fruit of holding her burden for a moment?
I hardly have faith for my own brokenness today. My heart seems empty, what do I have to pour into her dry one? I calm her sobs with deep breathing. We are two women who have known the pain of childbirth, yet struggle to remember to breath through the pain of healing.
She speaks of fault. Who bears fault when a child is sexually abused, she asks. Like a tattoo, the ink of shame has soaked into her skin, become apart of her. I reach past the skin stain to the corner of her soul and whisper she is wonderfully made. "I am?" she questions. Can I press hope into her life by holding her tighter?
May she realize she is more than sum of her past mistakes. Redeemer, be her glue.