It started with a Yorky…and hopefully will never end.
I was staying at my favorite Bellevue Hotel, the Larkspur Landing, preparing for preaching and a stewardship seminar with a valued colleague, Patty Baker and her St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in Snoqualmie, Washington.
Went for a coffee at the hotel’s coffee bar. A lady was getting tea. Leashed by her was as small a Yorky as I’d ever seen. Small was an overstatement. Diane and I had two Yorky’s, Sissy and Gracie, both in Dog Heaven now. I asked the lady, she said it was a Toy Yorky, or something like that. I would have named it Squirt. The lady laughed. Phew.
We visited. But it was much, much more than that.
She said she was from Texas, so we have common ground. She and her daughter live near Brenham, not much distant from Leander where I live. I shared about my enthusiasm to be with Patty and her congregation the next days.
Then the lady shared. I will share it. Identity will not be shared…trust, of course, is at issue.
Yet. The reality is worse than harsh and damaging, almost destructive.
The daughter, two years ago at 15, was in a small high school. One day, more than a stunning shock, her best friend forever, started a tumor that the daughter was pregnant. Was untrue.
It was bullying of the worst kind. The daughter, 15 years of age, went into a horrible depression. Stopped eating. Restricted anorexia got control. She refused to eat and drink, thinking she was worthless. Three hospitals in Texas helped, but not that much. They found a Seattle hospital and medical staff that helped.
For the last 4 months the daughter, now 17, has begun to eat. Such a fracturing story. Worse than terrible.
The mother and I visited. After a prayer and hug the mother, eyes glistening with gratitude said, “I think maybe I can bring my daughter here from the hospital tonight. Could we visit with you?”
That Saturday night we visited. The daughter chose to share. I did also. I took a chance, but thought it might be helpful. I shared the horrible time I was bullied by supposed “best friends” my freshman year in high school. It almost destroyed me. I did what I could to make sure their judgment of me was without value.
The mother and daughter and I visited…and the daughter began to share more. Tears from all of us because of the poignancy of the daughter’s story…and the steps to put hope in her heart. We prayed and hugged.
That night I thought that I would like to gift a book to the daughter…she and her mother said they loved fishing. But I didn’t have their address. And it was too late to knock on their door. So I wrote a note to them with a game plan to leave the note at the check-in desk as I left for church.
I was on the second floor, they on the first. I got in the elevator and the elevator stopped on the first floor. The door opened. And there. Right there. Right in front of me. The mother and the daughter. Oh, my; oh, my.
They smiled and I handed them my note asking for their address, “Hey, want to deliver this personally.” The mother got out a pen and gave me their surface mail address and phone number. I told them I would gift “Hooked on Life” to them…fishing stories with hopefully valued points ending each fishing event.
They asked for another prayer. Of course. Then the daughter, eyes filled with tears, looked and then hugged me, “Mark? You have given me so much hope…I am so better because…”
My goodness…listening and sharing.
Came back from the post office today. “Hooked On Life” is on its way. The mother wrote me this morning to say they are both getting better. I more than hope so.
In that, though, I experience with the mother and daughter how absolutely cruel and crushing bullying is. I hope the daughter can realize she should never be someone else’s opinion. Other than one other opinion. As I told her, “The only opinion that counts in our life is God’s opinion. And I can promise you in trust that God finds you of great value…you are good and beautiful cuz God don’t make junk. And. No less. God’s promise to be with you will never be broken, never. God will always care..no matter what.”
Right now it’s Friday afternoon. I sit here thinking how special it was…a journey that started with the world’s smallest Yorky. And now continues with a mother and daughter and a new friend who will always be connected…always.
Thank you, God.