She carried a soiled queen-sized bedspread. I noted magenta and blue paisley swirls. At one time, the bedspread must have been lovely. I noticed it was still quite puffy, and it probably had never been washed. She carried a large ziploc bag that was stuffed with her belongings--probably everything she owned. The bag was smudged with fingerprints. Her eyes reflected pain and anger. She yelled obscenities at me. I dared not go close to her as she stated she would hurt me. She threatened to hurt herself. "What do you want me to do? I'm homeless, somebody beat me up. I don't have anywhere to go," she screamed.
The young woman had showed up in the lobby of the agency I work for. She had camped out with her blanket and bag full of stuff. I could see an uncapped toothbrush sticking up from the broken ziploc zipper. I realized she was not in a state of mind to have a rational discussion. Our physician's assistant worked on getting her a bed in the inpatient unit. Meanwhile the security guard called 911. She stormed out the doors, "I'm not staying at your 'f...ing' place. You can't stop me." I instructed the security guard to follow her while I stayed online with 911. Eventually, an emergency team arrived. She continued her tirade, clutching that bedspread around her shoulders with one hand and holding the plastic bag under her arm. She refused to allow them to take her to the emergency room. When she finally admitted she wouldn't harm herself or anyone else, she was allowed to go. The EMS worker said to me, "She's a frequent flyer. We've taken her to the emergency room a lot. She just keeps refusing help." I saw her walking off, the bedspread draggng behind her on the ground. She could now be resting in a bed had she received help. She saw all the ones who wanted to help her as "enemies." My heart broke for her, especially when I remembered the desperate look in her eyes.
And in some ways she reminded me of myself. There were many years I resisted the help God wanted to give me. Metaphorically speaking, I dragged around my own bedraggled blanket attempting to find rest on my own, refusing His intervention. My way never worked. Oh, that we would receive His help, His love, His rescue. Crawl up into a bed, fragrant with newly washed bedclothes. A place to lay our heads and receive the dignity of His rest.