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A woman in a wheelchair

Discussion in 'The Spirit of the USA' started by Mark Dohle, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Principalities

    The woman in a wheelchair

    We live in a world that is filled with need. Needs of many kinds. People have emotional needs, or financial needs. Some need to be listened to and simply loved and accepted. Some may need to be talked to in a manner that could seem harsh, but is in reality simply stating the facts. Perhaps we all fit into one of the above categories at different times of our lives. Being retreat master has its challenges. People do come here for help. Not many, but they come. So I do what I can, which is not much and I tell them that. I also ask them not to tell others about what I did for them, for if too many come, I won’t be able to help anyone. Also, there are con-artist, which I am sure I have fallen prey to. Yet as time goes on I am learning. I also believe that all of us have people come into our lives that we ‘know’ on some level that we are to help, perhaps a little more than we normally do. If I think about all the need just here in Conyers, I believe that it would paralyze me if I obsessed over it. Yet I can do one person at a time, a person who is struggling and often alone. People in need can be painted by some as just being lazy, or have an attitude of entitlement. There is some truth to that of course. However, there are those who really need help and can be overlooked if cynicism is allowed to take over. I can’t save, or change anyone, but from time to time I can give some help. It could be with money, or just to listen etc.

    I am writing this to encourage others to be aware of those who come into their lives who they are supposed to help. I find that if I do this, I am not overwhelmed, but they come spaced in such a way that I can do it in the name of the community.


    It was a Saturday afternoon, around 2PM when Roseanne notified me that she received a phone call from a woman in distress. My first reaction was not to respond to the call, for it is a ploy from those who scam for money to call on a weekend because there is no one else to help them, so pressure can be applied. However, Rosanne told me that the woman is wheelchair bound and in a motel with no way to get what she needs.

    I have learned over the years, to listen to my ‘gut’ reaction when it comes to people. I don’t know why but it seems to be true 99% of the time. My ‘gut’ told me to call her. She was staying at one of those long stay motels that many people are forced to live in for a while until things look up for them. This call seemed to be from a person who was stuck and possibly very scared because of her ‘hopeless’ situation. In a wheelchair, with no transportation, and later I found out no family members to help her.

    I called her, her name was Debra. She was thankful that I called her back. She called many places but either she had to go there for help, or they did not respond at all. As we spoke, I communicated that the places/organizations that help others in need, are often overloaded and stretched to their limit. Also, the people are frequently near burnout, so there are times when they can seem unfeeling, or that they don’t care, but that is not true.

    She was staying in a large room, with two beds, a large fridge and a complete kitchen. It was perfect for someone in a wheelchair. As we spoke she told me that she has a spinal infection and she came to Conyers about 8 weeks ago to see a doctor here who has had some success in treating her problem. If this doctor can’t help her, she will be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. Soon, she was going to get some procedure done from the doctor that will perhaps cure her. In the meantime they were worried that her spinal infection would go to her brain. At the very least, even if she won’t be able to walk, he can stop the problem from getting worse.

    So I got her some food. The kind that she did not have to cook, but could put in the microwave. She could not work the stove because of her inability to use her legs. I got her canned beans, canned chicken and fish, some bread and milk, some fruit and coke-cola. Enough to last her for the week she had remaining.

    I really liked her, she was a fighter and did not feel sorry for herself. She was also a woman of deep faith, which at times amazes me. Armchair philosophers often talk about the problem of suffering, but this woman was ‘living it’, and her faith was intact and even deeper than it was before her illness. She also had a son who was in prison. He goes in and out. She was heartbroken over that as well, and was saddened that she could not help him in anyway, but only pray.

    So after I loaded up everything for her in the fridge and on a table low enough for her to reach with the non-perishables, I left. Before I went she asked me to pray over her and I did. So I left with some sorrow in my heart over her situation, but glad that in some small way I could help.

    About a week later she called and said that her doctor did not want her to go back to Chattanooga. She wanted to go back in order to finish up some business before she went into the hospital. They wanted to do some more test before they could do any kind of procedure. I could tell she was embarrassed to call, but she was out of money for rent. I usually set a limit on how much I can help people, but again, my ‘gut’ told me that she is really doing her best. So I was able to do that, and also I received from a friend some Walmart gift cards, worth 15 dollars. I gave her three of them. She told me that she had a friend that could drive her to Wal-Mart if she gave her some warning. She lived a ways off and had her own set of problems that she was dealing with. She did however, try to help her when she could, which was not often.

    She called me the next day to thank me. I told her that I could not do much more for her and that hopefully she is open with her doctor about her situation. This doctor seems to really care for his patients, for he is only getting Medicare/Medicaid from this woman, yet is giving her top-notch treatment. She will she told me, she has to see him the next day.

    She did speak to the head nurse about her situation, and now they have an assisted living place for her after her operation. She is now on an antibiotic that she has to take for 45 days to clear up the infection so that they can go in and do what needs to be done. She went back to her home in Chattanooga, yesterday. A man who lives there in the same motel, who pays by the day and is struggling himself, offered to drive her. So they came by and I gave him enough for gas money and a little extra, and gave her a little extra as well.

    The man was a gentle soul. Big, a construction worker who was going back to work in a few day. He told me that when he worked it is good, when work is down, things get really tight. I thanked him for doing this for Debra and they left.

    Not being an agency, the Monastery can only do so much for people and I have to put a limit. I also asked those I help not to spread it around, for if too many come, I will have to stop helping anyone, we don’t have the funds for that. Yet, with this woman, like with a few others, I felt I was supposed to help her. I don’t get that reaction from everyone, in some cases, the opposite. I still get sad, but I know that is not helpful to me or to the person I am helping. I am learning to let go in trust.

    She may have to be in assisted living for the rest of her life if the operation can’t restore her ability to walk. She is a small woman and frail, but with a strong spirit. If she stays in the area, I will try to get some people I know to become in some small way a part of her life. She is a good soul, dear to the Lord, and her faith being tried is most likely deeper than mine and I could learn a lot from her. I already have. One thing, just deal with today, not tomorrow.

    josephite and Patty like this.
  2. Katfalls

    Katfalls Archangels

    Your story is so common, there are so many people caught between a rock and a hard place with nowhere to turn. Our oldest son, an over the road truck driver told me a lot of these people seem to end up at truck stops. You can find them wandering around like lost souls. Because many are on drugs, truckers will not answer their doors when people are banging on them. Also, desperate women will prostitute themselves because there is no other way out. My son told me one night when he was at a truck stop down in Texas it turned very cold and windy, a knock came on his truck cab and he looked out to see a very fragile black man asking if he could come into the cab and get warm . . .my son's first inclination was to yell move on out, but he looked him over and said he did not look threatening, you could push him over with a toothpick. So, he let him in, offered him a granola bar, it's all he had, and let the man warm up. The old guy was so greatful and thankful and said no one else would help him out. There are good people out there . . .about ten years ago there was an article in our little hometown paper regarding phone calls they get from people who have no where else to turn, such as where they can get assistance, where can they find a room, directions, and sometimes people just have no one else to talk to and just want a voice to hear. We are surrounded with need and we are placed in positions where we can offer hope . . .the best gift we can give to those in need are prayers. For ten years I have sponsored an elderly woman in Kenya . . .she has a little potato garden where she takes the crop to town once a week to the farmers market. She lives in a little metal shack with no indoor plumbing, she has breathing issues and no bed, sleeping on the ground. My $25 a month has helped her get a bed, supplemental food, medical attention, and a little extra money a month. Can you imagine how vulnerable an old person is without the strength or ability to eke out a living? Yes, you can imagine it because you see it all the time. What I give her is so little compared to the prayers she says for me . . .God Bless you for your generosity
    Patty, josephite and Rose like this.
  3. Magdalena

    Magdalena New Member

    May I ask please if you are a Monk? Also, how can we help you to help others?
    Thank you.
  4. Magdalena

    Magdalena New Member

    Is there no response to my question to Mark Dohle??
  5. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Principalities

    I am sorry, have not been here for a few days. Yes I am a monk and Iwork in our retreat house, so from time to time people come through. Mostly we can only help a few times and we ask those whom we help not to spread the word, since if they do, we will not be able to help anyone at all, we don't have the funds for that.

    If you would like to help, you could send a check for the Monastery of the Holy Spirit and on the bottom of the check you could write for Br. Mark's almoner fund, if you can. No pressure my friend ;-).

    The Lady in the wheelchair, we are still helping some. We got her a wheelchair today, hers broke down. I helped with ther rent. Hopefully, soon they are going to place here in a care facility and it may be permanent if they can't help her walk. It is avery painful situation. She is a very brave soul.

    Thanks for asking, though there is no pressure here my friend.

  6. Magdalena

    Magdalena New Member

    Thank you so much..
    Mark Dohle likes this.
  7. Mark Dohle

    Mark Dohle Principalities

    Thank you for aksing.


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