Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Wake Up Call

I live alone with my dog, Charlie, so apart from Charlie's occasional barking sprees when someone enters the apartment below, or me talking to myself, it is pretty quiet in my apartment. So when my phone rang at 1:30 in the morning last week I was startled from a deep sleep. I immediately thought one of my kids was in danger and my heart dropped as I picked up the phone.

"My daughter needs your help." My mind was still in a fog as I tried to sort out who was on the other end of the line.

"I'm sorry, who is this?" I asked.

She gave me her name and told me her daughter was, at that very moment, in the middle of a fight with her boyfriend and was not safe. "She needs to go to a shelter immediately. I live in Minnesota and got your name off the Internet. Can you please help?"

I was struck by the fear and desperation I heard in the woman's voice and remembered my own fear when I answered the phone thinking one of my own family members was in trouble. If it was my daughter, I wouldn't have paused a minute. I would have jumped into the car immediately. I understood why this woman would get on the Internet and track me down all the way to my cell phone in hopes that someone of faith would reach out to her daughter.

What was I supposed to do? Get in the car in the middle of the night, drive to the south side by myself and enter some unknown situation? What if the boyfriend was violent? What if I drove all the way to Englewood to find she wasn't there or didn't want my help?

"Do you have a number I can use to reach her?" I asked, thinking more information might be helpful. She gave me her daughter's number.

"What are you going to do?" She asked persistently.

"Well, I'm not sure, but I'll do something," I responded.

"Please call me and let me know what happens," she pleaded. "I'm not going to be able to sleep until I hear from you."

"Yes, I will call you." I sat for a minute to consider the situation. I understand the desperation of a mother for her children, the pain of thinking your child might be in danger and the helplessness of feeling like there is nothing you can do.

I said a quick prayer and picked up the phone to dial the daughter. "She's not here," the female voice informed me on the other end of the line. "She just left to go to a shelter."

I admit, I was relieved. I called the mother back to let her know her daughter was safe at least for now.

I got the wake up call. Would I do for others what I would do for my own family? Do I really feel God's love for abused women, for desperate mothers? Everyone we serve at Breakthrough is someone's son or daughter. Sure, I helped to open a shelter for women, but would I be willing to get more personally involved? To step outside of my comfort zone? God's still working on me!

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