Out on a Limb
So it's the best place I have.
It's the place I can go to and be real or be silly or be whatever I want to be and if it draws criticism or comments or laughs...whatever.
My heart is too heavy for such nonsense.
Tonight was a God night. One of those nights where it's too big to handle on your own because you didn't get there on your own in the first place.
God used my job to insert me into the life of a man who needs someone. Anyone.
It was a normal Friday afternoon and we got a normal phone call at work from, surely, another normal client.
Let me go back a bit. My boss gives out calendars to our clients each year. They're quite popular, actually, because they're Norman Rockwell calendars and they've got enough space to write in appointments and everything.
This client that called was wanting a calendar but is disabled and unable to get out himself to get one.
And unlike myself, who always leaves work at 5 and goes straight home to my family and spends all of my time there....
Unlike myself, who tends to think more of and for herself than for others, especially strangers....
Unlike myself, who is not overly comfortable outside her little bubble of normal, everyday routine...
Unlike who I typically am, I assured him that he would see me either tonight or tomorrow at his doorstep with his calendars.
And he was so precious and sweet, even telling me he loved me twice before getting off the phone.
And tonight, when I showed up at his doorstep with a few items for him, including his calendars, he was so thankful. And so nice and sweet....and so sad. So lonely. So I suggested I bring Ty by sometime to see his dog (who was peeking around the corner at me) and even suggested he come to the house for dinner with us, too. He tried to shrug me off and I told him I'd check in on him next week and see if he'd change his mind.
After a few minutes of visiting, I was about to leave and told my new friend that I hoped he had a wonderful weekend and his face fell and he struggled to compose himself.
And I did what I always hate that others do when I'm upset.
"Are you okay?"
And his walls came down and his eyes filled with tears and he struggled to tell me that just last night he sat with his shotgun in his hand and planned to take his life.
And my walls came down and my eyes filled with tears and I prayed for the right words because I knew then that I was put in that place for a reason.
I knew then that God placed me at that time and that place.
Maybe this would be how I would redeem myself for ignoring that divine tug at my heart seven years ago when someone I loved was in that same heartbreaking position.
But for as easy as words come here, they don't always come out so well phrased or well thought in real life. And in that situation I didn't want to say the wrong thing.
So I listened.
After a while he asked me to go get my husband and son from the car, where they'd been waiting on me, and let them come in for a bit.
So we did.
We sat and we listened and visited and played with his only companion, an affectionate Min Pin named "B G" (short for Baby Girl).
He laughed so hard when we said the word "booger" that his hat fell off.
He admired Ty with the dog and looked at him as if he were imagining his own grandson there, playing beside him.
He talked about how down to earth we are and that he liked getting to visit with us.
And then he sank back into what I can only assume is his normalcy and started mentioning his loneliness and his lack of contact with his family.
I sent Jason and Ty back out to the car so that I could talk with him and hopefully encourage him not to give up, not to transfer the pain he's now feeling--which is temporary--to every person who loves him. Because that pain will last much longer than he could ever imagine it would.
He knew all too well what I was talking about, being a survivor of a loved one's suicide too, and admitted that was the only thing stopping him, he didn't want his broken heart to break those of his kids and grandkids....none of which he gets to see with any frequency or predictability.
And the time came and went when I needed to leave. We had our night ahead of us and things we needed to do. Jason and Ty were waiting patiently on me in the car. But I couldn't bring myself to leave. Finally, he insisted I go to my family though, but not before he showed me his gun was empty and promised me it would stay that way.
I also made him promise me that he'd figure out which evening he wanted to come visit us and spend an evening enjoying some company.
And then, after he insisted again, I got in my car and left.
But my heart's been there ever since.
Because I feel like I'm out on a limb.
Sure I could make a change in his life, and God-willing, I'd love to. But there's that devil's voice nagging me, saying "What about me?", "this could be a lot of work", "You don't know what you're getting into", "you could end up hurt", "it brings back too many memories".
But then, there's that small little voice that's saying "Try. Go out on that limb. Isn't that where the fruit is?"
So I will try.
I will go out on that limb.
But pray for me as I do.
And most of all, pray for my new friend.
Ashley is a thirty-something wife and mother of two boys. She enjoys spending time with her family, as well as reading and decorating their home. Her blogging adventures began in 2006 as a single mother and have carried on through marriage and a new life with a husband, a ten-year-old, and an infant.