Him and Me

David, is the homeless man in the neighborhood, somedays I give a cup of coffee to. I acknowledge his presence and make it known to him by saying ‘Hi David’, in those days he’s around. To me -more so to God in me-David is a human being of equal importance to you and I. Few days ago, after past weeks of small interactions, on my way to one of my photography walks, I walked into him again. He was slumped over in a new spot.

‘I got kicked out of my regular spot. I don’t know why? I never create problems, I clean after myself, I leave before 8am, before the kids come, so I don’t cause problems. I had such a good day yesterday (Easter), but today I woke up to that.” He was clearly hurt- yet another rejection in his life- but remained calm and composed, maybe out of respect for my presence or due to his character, either reasons are based on my speculations.

‘Once I’m done with my walk, I’ll bring you some coffee.” He thanked me, as usual, numerous times. ‘It’s a small thing.’

‘It’s not to me.’

‘Okay David. You’re very welcome.’

Once I brought him the coffee cup, ‘brightening his day’ as he put it I turned around to leave, but one thought kept me in place.¬†Talk to him. So I did. Standing back, a safe distance back, brought on by life’s previous experiences that chipping away at my faith in humanity, a loss I don’t feel the need to apologize for, I asked him what bought him in the state of homelessness.

“If you don’t want to let me know, no big deal David, I just see a lot of pain in your eyes, which made me wonder what happened? I know pain too.” I shared with him the freshest pain and challenges I was going through, details only Chet knows about them, and now David. We began talking, a talk that lasted a good hour. I found out his story, sad, not unusual, but sad none- the- less. The entire time, I continued to see David not one ounce less important than the rest of us. There was no difference in his value as a human being from that of a CEO or the most famous person. I felt inside my chest the importance of love towards all humanity, even broken one, like David and I knew instantly it wasn’t me, as much as it was God showing me that truth, again. People matter. All people matter. Period.

Now, there is the other aspect of the spectrum- the consequences we all encounter due to our actions, actions followed by responsibilities towards ourselves and others within the society. That was also very clear to me. But what I understood without a shadow of doubt was this; I felt God’s love reaching out to David, encouraging him and reminding him of his truest value in God’s eyes, but I sensed God’s hands tied up by a rope called ‘our choices’ intertwined by ‘our responsibilities’ over those choices keeping God at bay. We are the ones keeping God at bay, his hands tied up due to our free choices, not the other way around. Not at all the other way around. Like a parent that lost a son, God’s heart was crying over David with such sorrow it choked my heart. And that’s when I understood something; the church over the past decades failed to express that. To some degree, it still does.

He was not a judging God, full of vengeance and hate towards anyone that didn’t agree with a particular denomination or specific religious detail, he was a father, hurt and separated from his children, because the children tied his hands and kept him at bay with one tool, called ‘choice’.

Yes, the post is long today, but I had to share this with you, because of its importance. I do hope in doing so it strengthened you as well, or at least gives us something to think about.

God Bless.

It Ended With a Cheer

The past two and a half weeks the Damean siblings, along with their spouses, have been dragged through a pool of emotions predominated by a shadow of nightmare. Only God’s love of us and our love of God gave us the strength required to keep our sanity. I’m sure, some of you have similar stories, hopefully similar outcome.

It began with a rescue mission during the vacation time of one of our siblings. Some of the information is very sensitive and extremely personal, so I’ll keep identities shadowed for protection. The rescue mission involved my mom, who, according to years of expertise in the nursing field of couple of my siblings was more or less two days from death. After few emergency trips to couple hospitals sprinkled with grave challenges my mom got admitted. All doctors were surprised she was still alive. A battle began that lasted two weeks over the wellbeing of my mother. When I say a battle, I mean it in the full extent of it’s word. We, all, were hurt in unthinkable brutal ways, something from which we will recover thanks to God’s help and each others’. After blood transfusions and different medications my mom’s health began to show signs of improvement. But the dialysis did it. Today, as I’m writing she’s going through her 8th or 9th round of dialysis, something she’ll have to do weekly until a new kidney becomes available. In the midsts of these past two weeks I began dental work, a dire step towards my full recovery, desperately needed three years ago but postponed due to my advanced compromised immune system situation. I’ve had a severe reaction Sunday, the 9th of April, involving cardiac symptoms similar to a heart atack followed by an intense Herx reaction that lasted well over one hour, (leaving my body drained and extremely week). My gums were swollen and an open sore may have been the contributing factor of such a severe reaction, but we’re not fully sure as of now. In addition, one of my sisters-in-law, found out she was pregnant. That fantastic news was quickly overshadowed by another news – ectopic pregnancy-a devastating news. Only God keeps us strong during these sorts of challenges. And he’s sure great. Among our pain, sun has shined as well. We’ve had the great privilege to participate at Elizabeth and Ward’s youngest son, Shawn’s baptism on the 8th, despite the fact that on the 7th I felt horrible. God alone, gave me the strength on the 8th, he’s always done that, witness to this is my husband. The time together with Elizabeth and Ward’s family during such an important time of life was a God moment and we savored every moment of it. My book is in the final stage of publication in ¬†Romanian, back home, Merrill, our eldest has found a new place to rent that he’s extremely happy with and after only 7 month at Amazon he got a promotion already.

And today, the biggest celebration so far was the arrival of Denis Stefan Damean, my brother Leo and his wife Nicole’s first born. Like a sweet ointment over all our hearts, Denis’s arrival amongst us feels, making him the 17th grandchild for my parents.

We’ve lost, we’ve gained, we’ve cried (extra these past two weeks), we’ve laughed but above all else WE HAVE LOVED! And that shines above all else. Together, with great love and greater unity, we’ll always overcome the shadow of evil.

Be encouraged, if you too are passing through the valley of death and reach out, we’re here to love and to withstand together the evil that may try to ravage you.

God, Thank you.