29 August 2007

A Typical Day in the West End...

Yesterday began as a relatively typical day in the West End of Glasgow. Not that my girls are usually sick, but I awoke to a couple of sick girls in our flat. Jasheen was struggling with a sinus infection and Gabrielle wasn't herself. I decided to stay home for the morning and lend a helping hand.

I took Gabrielle to Yorkhill Children's Hospital in the afternoon to see an orthopedic doctor to discuss her in-toe (pigeon toes) to discover if it's more serious than we think and can explain her incessant attraction to the ground - she falls a lot... she's almost two. All is fine with her legs... turns out, two-year-olds fall quite often and about 90% of in-toeing corrects itself as leg-strength increases.

While we were out I decided to stop by the local post office to pick up a package that they weren't able to deliver initially. On our way we crossed paths with my friend, Charlie, who manages the local Starbucks. We stopped to chat for a bit and we lingered as Charlie dotes on my girls and I tend to like that. A little further up the road we ran into my friend Nigel from the gym. We chatted about his work (doctor) and his dying car, and promised to hook up for a chat soon.

Once we arrived at the PO I realized why they were unable to deliver the box - we were home, mind you, but we've discovered that when packages are large, the postmen don't even bother bringing them with them. They just slide a slip through your mail slot that says, "Sorry we were unable to deliver your package - No Answer." We received a large box of clothes from a dear supporter who has kept my daughters dressed to impressed since Gabrielle was born. I had the tandem stroller and a massive box to trek about a half-mile home. Behind me in line was Sally. Sally is a sweet woman we know from the park. She has a couple of dogs that love Cole and they romp about in the park together regularly. Sally observed my struggle and caught up with me at the cross-walk and said, "Give me the box. I'll walk it home with you." I responded, "How about you push the pram, and I'll carry the box." She agreed.

I silently thanked God for providing help at this point and thought how wonderful it was to have Sally cross my path for this very occasion. Typical. God hadn't brought Sally across my path... He'd brought me across hers. She proceeded to share with me (fighting tears and anger) that the government was forcing her 17-year-old son to move out of her flat. He suffers from a mild case of autism and living with her increases his stress levels (according to counselors) and he needed to live on his own - with a disability at 17!!!! In short, she shared that they can't find a place that will approve him as a tennent, he's unable to stay with her and is temporarily staying with his aunt (Sally's sister) where he is subjected to pornography on television and his days have become nights and vice versa. If they're unable to find suitable accommodations for him he will soon be homeless... apparently that's more appropriate to the government than living with his mother. She described every single angle she'd worked, to no avail. She loves him dearly and can't bare the thought of him being homeless - a very common condition for many in Glasgow.

"It sounds to me like you've made every logical, legal and practical effort to sort this out," I said to her. "Perhaps the only thing to do now is pray."

"I've tried that," she said. "I don't think God hears me."

"He hears you, Sally." She started to cry.

"I think God has a plan for me," she said, "but I just don't know what it could be. Why is He not answering my prayer?"

I briefly explained to her my understanding of God's plans versus our plans and how despite their differences at times, He is always working for our good... to bring us closer to Him, not necessarily to sort out our problems.

"Can I pray for you now?" I asked. She really began to cry. "Please," she said through tears. I prayed for her and committed to continue to do so until the next time I see her. "When I see you next, I trust that your report will be better," I closed. I told her that Jasheen and I are available to talk whenever she'd like... and to pray more with her too.

I dropped off the box at home and took the girls to a local coffee shop for some daddy/daughter(s) time and to feed Isabelle - yeah, I'm ambitious and a little stupid. Two girls out with dad at meal time. I got us some drinks and settled into feeding Isabelle when out of the corner of my eye I saw Gabrielle tumble from her perch atop a chair and use her head to break her fall on the coffee table. It's the hardest fall I've seen her take, and everyone in the coffee shop heard it. Panicked, I set Isabelle into the pram and rushed to a screaming Gabrielle. I fully expected to see blood, but to my surprise and relief, there was just a terrible knot over her right eye.

After some consoling and cuddling, Gabrielle calmed down and I continued feeding Isabelle - she ate ALL of her baby rice.

Doctors offices, local friends, a prayer for the faint-hearted and a coffee shop catastrophe... just another day in the life of the West End.


Anonymous said...

Dear one,
Your Mom laughed and cried and rejoiced in amazement at God's hand on you! He must surely be pleased as you walk the talk in trust...

Nick Webb said...

Maybe Sally might find some practical help from SAMH (www.samh.org.uk)? It's a long shot but they're great people! (I've done some consultancy work with them in the past.)
Nick (CA UK Board - ask Mike or Wes!)

Clan McKenzie said...

Thanks, Nick!