Christmas clothes – Part three

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2018

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

The following day, reality began to sink in. Donna figured she had about a month before she would be forced to leave her meager house and have to live on the street. With the twins and the three older kids, there was every doubt that they could remain together as a family. Panic was beginning to rise up in every fiber of her being.

David, the violent former boyfriend, was being kept away by a restraining order; or so she hoped. After she had been hit, there was no interest in being around him. Yet, when they were with him, there was food and a warm place to stay. All of this was now gone. What was she to do?

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Donna’s parents tried to help, but with little of their own money and a one-bedroom apartment there was not much they could do. Sadly, her siblings had too often heard of the tales of woe and sorrow. Besides, they had moved to other states long-ago and had other priorities. The mother was running out of options, and she knew it. Never a particularly religious person, for she felt faith in the spiritual was only a crutch for the weak, but she did know of their charities which helped families. After a week of finding no answers, Donna had run out of choices.

On a busy street corner, about three blocks for the apartment, was the Logos House Ministry. Donna had seen the sign and the many people queued up in the front. She remembered, particularly, the words, “All Welcome!” These were comforting words, as the world had little encouragement to offer. Taking the kids in tow, the family slowly walked down the crumbling sidewalk. The mother’s words came quietly, but firmly, “I want all of you to be on your best behavior. We are going to ask these people for some help, and boy do we need it. Do you understand?” As best as they were able, and with a certain confused look, they nodded their heads.

Entering the front door of Logos House, they were greeted by a smiling faced woman sitting at the desk in front of a brightly lit Christmas tree. “Welcome,” she said, in a very cheerful way. Soft carols came from the radio, and cookies were on the table nearby. It was as though they had stepped into a dream. In spite of Donna’s efforts, the children looked like they too were in real need. Their clothes were clean, but well-used and none were overfed. Clearly, they all had recently experienced some sort of emotional trauma and desperation came from even the simplest words.

This was the first impression the Mission volunteer, Miss Liz, had when she met the group. It was readily apparent this was not some attempt to “work the system.” Here, the mother was stoop-shouldered and time worn. The children, Seth aged 11, Dawn age 10, Stewart age 9, and the twins Bobby and Ben age 7, tried their best. Yet, they too seemed to have been beaten-down.“Now,” Miss Liz began, “I want to hear about what’s going on with all of you.” Almost, as if on cue, all of the voices began at once. “Whoa! Hold on a minute, Mom, why don’t you begin first.”

With the guiding hand of Miss Liz, Donna told her story of recent events. Yet, in the telling, the mother held back much of what had delivered her to the present situation. Clearly, she had spent a lot of time living day-to-day and not thinking much about the future. It began to become clear that the mother was bright and the children, in spite of the conditions, were well-loved.

It all seemed to be about proper choices. This was just the kind of people the Ministry sought to help.