Since I discovered that Edwina lied to me, we haven’t talked face to face. We’ve texted back and forth a bit, and Edwina tells me that she isn’t feeling well and she loves me. Today’s text announced that she’d rescued her sister from jail last night. I didn’t ask how she’d ended up there in the first place.
I miss our chats and outings, but I’m still feeling the sting of helping out Edwina with Christmas last year and learning that I was one of many elves filling Edwina’s apartment with more than she and her family could ever use. As Edwina’s pile grew higher, others in need of a hand went without.
Rachael Martin, former pastor at Church of the Reconciler and the person who first introduced me to Edwina, told me to think about what’s happened as a “bump in the road,” as a chance to slow down and assess where Edwina is headed at this point in her walk through homelessness and cancer as well as where our friendship stands.
Rachael’s had a lot of experience with folks like Edwina and Lisa, and she recognizes that the ability to walk away from a life on the streets and the insecurity and greed that this kind of life breeds is difficult. It’s not a linear journey. As much as I hate the term “tough love,” Edwina needs to realize that lying leads to distrust and bruised relationships. That said, I say a prayer every night that Edwina, Aubrey and the rest of her family have a peaceful Chirstmas.
It’s a dance that I’ve had some experience with. As a kid, I learned to give my brother a second chance, then a third, a fourth and so on. Each time he told me he was clean, that he was telling the truth, that he’d finally gotten his life together, I wanted to believe he had transformed himself. But there were, and continue to be, many bumps on the road. While the most simple response would be to turn around and head another way, one that takes me away from Edwina and my brother, I know that I’d always be looking in the rearview mirror to see what I’d left behind.