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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Expose (08/22/13)

TITLE: A Prayer for Patty . . .
By Judith Gayle Smith


A Prayer for Patty . . .
Running in the street, stark naked.

I need you to strengthen and guide me, dear Lord. The only hope I have is You . . .

I met Patty at my friend Sharon’s Fiftieth Birthday gala. Patty, also fifty, is a wee wisp of a gal, full of brittle self-effacing jokes that endeared her immediately to my mothering heart.

We decided we were soul sisters, sharing wacky personalities, spiritual awareness, offering to be friends forever. Over a few months I realized she had spiritual awareness, but not of the majestic wonder of Jesus.

She started calling long distance and drunkenly exposed her bitter, suffering heart to me. Most of her anger was because of what her boyfriend, Greg, did or did not do, said or did not say.

I learned to avoid her calls after six o’clock, as she was, sadly, most likely plaintively, shame-facedly drunk. Morning calls were encouraged.

This tiny little gal, young enough to be my daughter, tugs at my helpless heart. She lives in a rented house with her lover Greg.

Greg rented a room to Patty, and later offered his heart. If Patty didn’t have Greg, she would be homeless and loveless.

Both are lovers of alcohol. Greg eats non-prescription Morphine for pain, in full denial of any illness.

It came to a head today, Sunday. Sharon called, saying Greg was in the hospital, less than three weeks to live.

So we pray. Thank you, sweet Lord, for hearing us . . .

I’m exposing my heart for You to see, advise and encourage. I would take in any and all stray and hurting people as well as animals. You have given me the courage to be the caregiver for my sister and my husband.

We pray for them. Mike strenuously objects to having Patty move in with us. God bless him – he took on my older sister and our sweet boarder Mary. Mike is a very private soul, and none of us would be prepared to help an alcoholic in great pain.

I see the reality of not taking Patty under my wing in our home. I sing Your praises and Your heartbreaking Gift of Jesus to her, and yet I cannot tell her to come, be warm, be clothed, be fed.

I love, respect and obey my wise God-fearing husband. Having a grieving unstable alcoholic staying in our home, drinking, blacking out, running in the street stark naked, would prove frighteningly more chaotic than it normally is.

But my heart weeps for her. My arms ache to comfort her. Yes, I will call her and let her know that I know. And Mike will be monitoring our conversation to keep me from foolishly throwing myself at Patty in a misguided frenzy of my exposed heart wanting to hug her vulnerable devastated heart.

I dare not make promises I cannot keep. You, Father, know my heart – and my heartbreak.

Patty is alone. She is not Greg’s wife. I am fearful that she, being alone, will drink her sorrow to oblivion.

Patty is Jack’s sister, and Jack is Sharon's husband. They all antagonize each other when Patty is in her cups. The thought of her possibly moving back in with them grieves me, as they will not be able to handle her.

Hold her Lord – let her feel Your comfort and your strength . . .

You know me, Lord. What can I do? What must I do? Pray. Yes, pray. But I cannot house her, feed her, clothe her – I can only love her through this nightmare.

Praying . . .

I called her a few minutes ago. She appears to be stronger than me. She worried about my voice sounding tired, and asked about Mike. She will be praying for us.

She is upset at Greg for refusing tests, blood draws. She has not been drinking. She tells me that she will postpone her breakdown until after Greg passes. She wants to be home for him, praying that with good hospice care, his remaining three weeks will be filled with God’s peace. And yes – I pray that they both will understand their position before God, and cling tightly to He Who holds them most tenderly . . .

Precious Jesus, we need You.

Tuesday . . .

Sharon just called. Greg is riddled with brain cancer and has been put in Hospice; he has less than a week now . . .

Help us all, precious Jesus . . .

Amen - for now.

KJV 1 Peter 3:1, KJV James 2:16, KJV Matthew 25:36, KJV Matthew 25:39, KJV Matthew 25:43, KJV Matthew 25:44

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This article has been read 587 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/30/13
Oh my goodness what a sobering and cut to the heart story. Moving, and powerful in content.

Thank you for sharing this piece. It'll speak to many.

God bless~
Brenda Rice 08/30/13
Thanks for sharing this gut wrenching entry. My heart was torn with you as you fought to not give in to Patty.

Nicely written.
Noel Mitaxa 09/02/13
Thanks for so eloquently sharing the ache of your pastoral heart for a lady whose heart is also breaking...
Mike Newman09/02/13
Good story that touches on the helplessness that those surrounding addicts often feel.

I was a little confused in portions (the line about the naked person running up front), and did not see the topic woven throughout the tale. A sin that I think I am guilty of pretty near every week. :)

Thank you for sharing this.
Virgil Youngblood 09/02/13
You have clearly shown love in action, exposing a need that readers can lift to our Father in prayer.
lynn gipson 09/03/13
This touched my heart in so many ways, both being a survivor of brain cancer and a recovering alcoholic of 24 years. I could imagine your entire story as being real. Your style of writing is intriguing. Keep up the excellent work.
Ellen Carr 09/03/13
What a moving,heart-wrenching account. It reads almost like a diary.(That could be another way to set it out - as diary entries.) and tells of the anguish of not being easily able to help some people, but wishing we could. Thanks for sharing this.
Bea Edwards 09/04/13
Your live journal of the battle between feeding and sheltering this struggling older waif and honoring your husbands wishes is gritty in its truthfulness.
I will join you in praying for Patty to come to full life giving knowledge of the only Truth that will set her free.
Thank you for sharing this.
Addiction is like running naked through the streets.
Judith Gayle Smith09/05/13
This is a true, ongoing story. At this point, my unfortunate "Patty" is still holding strong. Please keep praying . . .