Even living at a church it's unusual for people to approach us to ask for help. Unusual, but not unheard of. In the 6 years we've lived here I can still count by name (if not by face) the people who have ventured past the gate on a weekday and made their way up to the house, knocking on the door, asking for a help or a handout.
Last night was an unusual. The woman is one we all know and recognized right away. Her bright blonde pigtails and colorful striped knee socks make her stand out from the crowd. Blonde hair and colorful clothing isn't that unusual in sunny SoCal - on a teenager, but it's a statement for this middle aged Cantonese woman. Having met her once or twice when she came to church years ago, we would point her out on the sidewalks, (not that she needed pointing too) and say, "oh, there's Holly."
Last night I was getting ready to go to bed, taking advantage of the quiet evening at home, hoping to get ahead on sleep when my sister looked out the window to say, "oh, there's Holly."
She was invited in and we tried as best as we could to understand her trouble and how we could help her. She babbled like a simple minded 12 year old about antiques and Hong Kong, her father being a millionaire and Hello Kitty suitcases full of gold that her landlord possibly stole - and French Bibles.
After listening to her talk, I wandered into the living room, frustrated and sad and I'm not sure what else. (overtired.)
Dad read the emotions on my face and smiled. "I'm guessing you need to go to bed?"
"Well, yeah, but..." I shrugged. What can you do?
"Where is her family!?" I finally blurted in frustration. "How do they let her just globe-trot around when she clearly isn't okay?"
I don't know if I was more frustrated with her for keeping me from going to bed, or my family for not knowing how to help her, or at her family for not taking care of her.
"She's safe tonight." My dad offered.
What is the price of two sparrows--one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.
She is safe. Even without her family watching over her. Or our family. Or anybody.
I went to bed last night feeling incredibly spoiled, blessed, taken care of, humbled and I don't know what else. (still overtired) When I woke up this morning Holly was gone, but she left reminders. A 20$ bill in the living room along with a scribbled thank you note, a collection of tea and jam and honey packets, (the type they give out at restaurants) in the kitchen, and a whole new appreciation for God's love in my heart.