The Toque (Knitted hat)!

Melanie* recently called and read a poem to me. I asked her to send it to me with some notes to put it into a context, and I would Post it.

Below is the result.

*****

For the last three Tuesdays I, with a small group of women, have been delivering Christmas bags to the women on Vancouver’s “downtown East-side”. You all have a “downtown East-side”. You may at some point have walked right through it, and perhaps not even noticed it, but all major cities have one.

The “East-side” is (I’m looking around as I’m sitting in this awesome coffee shop thinking of how to respectfully describe the “East-side” without taking away peoples dignity as so many others have already done) ….. The “East-side” is a place where people find themselves at the very worst times of their lives. They are the unloved; the unwanted; the invisible; the faceless; the drug addicted; the mentally ill and the nameless. That is just a brief overview of what I was walking into.

I had volunteered to organize the ministry this year as I clearly heard God tell me that He wanted me to be His feet on the ground, and go with the other women and deliver the bags to women on the “East-side”.

The 1st Tuesday I was a reluctant participant, after all, this was the “East-side”! It was smelly and dirty, and the people were so unpredictable. The 2nd Tuesday, I prayed for people, even sat in a very smelly doorway on a piece of cardboard with a man named Ramundo. He asked me to pray for his addictions to heroine and crystal meth. I put my hand on his shoulder. He leaned into me and so I pulled him closer and put my arm around him like a child, and I prayed.

Yesterday was our last Tuesday and we had only 11 bags left from the 150 we started with. It seemed like a heavy kind of day. We turned a corner and that is when I got slammed with a harsh reality check.

A man walked past us wearing a black toque and on it, in white letters that seemed to glow, was “Believe me, See me, I’m here”. I asked the other women if they saw it, but they didn’t see the man and then, as we kept walking, I pointed out a wall that in large red graffiti letters said “I wonder what it would be like to OD** on Love”!

I sucked in my tears as we drove home and broke when I walked in my front door. I prayed because I felt that my heart had been ripped apart, so I grabbed my journal and started writing, which ended with the poem you are about to read. You need to know this poem was not thought or planned out. It just flowed from my pen as I wrote about my feelings that day,

THE TOQUE

(For my brothers and sisters. Be assured that you are believed; you are seen, and I know you’re there. I will pray that so many others also open their eyes.)

This is not the life I chose

Please believe me

I never planned this

Please believe me

The drugs are now my demon

Please believe me

I truly want help

Please believe me

*****

My heart breaks

Why don’t you see?

I’m standing right here

Why don’t you see?

You walk right by me

Why don’t you see?

I’m just like you

Why don’t you see?

*****

Can someone please say

“I’m here”?

Reach me from this darkness

“I’m here”

I’m stuck in this pit

“I’m here”

My small voice cries out

“I’m here”

*****

Everyone walks by me

Please believe me

Please see me

Because I matter and I’m here.

(Copyright Melanie-Anne Chappell – Dec.16/2015)

 “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Romans 2:1)

*See “The Crane” – June 3, 2015

**Over-dose

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8 thoughts on “The Toque (Knitted hat)!

  1. Melanie sent me a beautiful card which I have just received and asked me to find this post and let her know my thoughts. I’ll email them to her Colin, but I just want to say here how amazing this is – it is wonderful to see love in action this way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I read about her encounters I already had tears in my eyes! That is heart breaking. Thank you for sharing her observations and her poem with us. I was talking with some homeless people in the past when in California and the bottom line is exactly what that poem tells.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Erika: As you, Melanie, and I, all know – whereas many people understand that these people exist, and are probably sympathetic towards the circumstances that put them on the street, it takes on a whole different perspective when one actually acknowledges them and talks with them. I am very proud of her for constantly putting herself “out there” for those less fortunate.

      Liked by 1 person

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