Boundaries in Pleasant Places

Bling Bling came and ate with us last night. We had a massive buffet available and it was all good. Bling sat with Kathy and I. Just the three of us in the room.

She’s been coming by every Wednesday and Friday to get food for herself and her sister. 

Bling is always smiling and grateful. I’ve never seen her angry but she does seem down on occasions. No matter if she’s happy or sad though she’s always polite.

Last night was the first time I felt comfortable enough to have a real conversation with her. I think it helped it was just the three of us. It was conducive to speak freely without worrying about too many ears catching something that wouldn’t be their business.

Questions were meant to be innocent and asked so we could learn more about each other. I was particularly interested in hearing from Bling. 

I thought she was from Terrell but has only been here since 2001.

Originally she lived in LA until she was around 8. Her family stayed in the Crenshaw area. It was known for gangs, crimes, and riots. She told of being a girl and not knowing what side of the street she could walk down because the sidewalks were controlled by gangs. She and her friends were so terrified that they walked down the middle of the street. Even then she was threatened and even beat up as a child.

In hopes of getting away her family moved to several different areas of Las Angeles looking for a safe neighborhood. Having exhausted any hopes in LA they moved to Dallas.

They came to the Southside of Dallas and found it just like the LA neighborhoods and then tried the Westside and other parts of town. Poverty, drugs, and crime surrounded them each location. Some in her family joined in to those activities while she became a target for abuse on occasion.

They finally came to Terrell but trouble was here as well. Family members died on the street. Some became incarcerated. Others died of illness. Bling currently cares for a younger sister who has three tumors in her. 

All she has known is poverty, loneliness, injustice, heart ache, and despair. At 57 she still seems like a frightened young girl in a world that ignores her in her desperate state. 

I happened to glance at Kathy while Bling told her story. It was hard to see through the tears building in my eyes but I think Kathy had tears already rolling down her cheeks.

Bling finished her story and looked at me.

“I’m so sorry for all you’ve had to endure,” I said. “You’re so strong and courageous. Thank you so much for sharing with us. You are an inspiration to us and I am very honored that you would open up and tell us your story.”

She lowered her head and released the sobs and tears for a moment as she put her face into her hands.

“God has been with you this whole time and His heart has ached for you through all this. I can’t imagine how deep His Love is for you,” I said. “One day when we all open our eyes, we will be in our new home and will be able walk on either side of the street with no fear. You will see your loved ones and we will all be how we should be.”

How could it be after hearing the horror and pain of her life that there was something pleasing happening for the three of us? It was not just a therapeutic release in her or sympathy from us. It was a joining of hearts. Kathy and I discovered ourselves in her story. We became one and it was a wonderful discovery of souls brought together by our Father. It’s a special place. A pleasant place. It’s a territory with a name.

Kinship.

About

Don is the pastor of Serenity Corner. He has been married for 38 years to Elaine Ledbetter, is the father of six children, grandfather to 17 grandchildren, close friend of a few, friendly to most, and tolerant toward a couple of old sore heads. Received an acceptable education from Carson Newman College and University of Tennessee Knoxville. The most memorable education has been from making mistakes.

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