joy in the midst of sadness.
Today is Monday. At 8:30 am I arrived at the church to see a small scene forming in the parking lot. I stepped out of my car and heard screams coming from the small patch of woods beside our church. The screams were coming from Sarah; a middle-aged woman high on heroin. Sarah was eventually coaxed out of the woods and taken to the ER. This is becoming a routine occurrence around our church. Sarah will probably refuse treatment. She will be released from the hospital. Sarah will back in that small patch of woods by this afternoon. Yes! This is very sad.
However, it is not the whole story. For a moment in time, a small community formed for the sole purpose of rescuing Sarah. Two young women from the microbrewery next to us heard the screams and reached out to a man and a woman from a construction crew doing work across the street. They called 911. That is when I arrived. I notified Estelle and Amy who runs Tamar's Place. Estelle, Amy and I went into the woods, called Sarah by name and got her to come out. The police and paramedics convinced her to go to the hospital. She is temporally safe. We all went back to doing our business.
In the midst of the heroin tragedy, there are moments of joy. Not happiness – but joy. Delight in the knowledge that people still care enough to step in and do their part. Joy in the fact that we were not concerned about Sarah's sexual orientation; her immigration status; who she voted for in the last election, or if she is Muslim or Christian. We didn't care about those things. A child of God was in pain. Ten people worked together to offer a lifeline to a lost soul.
Yes! I am sad that heroin is destroying lives. All of us will be touched by this tragedy sooner or later. I am also grateful that most people are good and decent folks who stop what they are doing and try to help other people in pain. I am joyful that when we have a common purpose, the politics of division and hatred holds no power over us. I only wish it didn't take a heroin overdose to teach these lessons. The Kingdom of God happened in the parking lot next to Philippus United Church of Christ today at 8:30 am. God is good. God is good all the time. Sarah we are praying for you.