Four years ago, I met a woman at Friday Church named Karen, who was in the recovery program at Wayside. I saw her off and on for much of a year, but lost track of her for several months. When I saw her again, she was attending with a friend, whom she introduced me to, and excitedly told me she was celebrating her one-year anniversary of sobriety that day. She was still living at Wayside but was moving forward with her recovery.
She had gained enough weight to look healthy and was clearly doing well.
I was thrilled for her, and we hugged and laughed. She admired silver earrings I was wearing that night, and I took them off and gave them to her as congratulations for her hard work. She put them on right away.
Throughout the next year or so, I saw her off and on at Friday Church, and she always wore those earrings and pointed them out to me. She told me proudly when she moved out of Wayside and had her own place to live, and she was working. Moreover, she was reunited with her family.
I hadn’t seen her for a long time, when I turned around to Exchange the Peace at Friday Church two weeks ago. She told her companion, another black woman from the Wayside program, “I just knew that was Ms. Barbara.” I barely recognized them, but sure enough, Karen was wearing those earrings, and said that she was celebrating her fourth-year recovery anniversary the next day. She introduced me to her friend, who had two school age children, and the friend said these are the children I used to pray for at Friday Church when she was at Wayside. We shared big group hug. Then Karen looked at me and said, “I’ve got to have those earrings.” I laughed as I took off the delicate little hoops and watched her remove the earrings she was wearing to put them on. I told them about the Fifth Friday barbecue/picnic coming up on May 31. I said that I hoped they’d come and that I hoped to see them more often. They just grinned.
Pure Friday Church.