When I first heard of our quest to get Debbie Brown to Smile Again in Lewiston I was mildly concerned about the logistics of this endeavor. I volunteered to help drive with a very slight trepidation in my heart of having someone I don't know riding in my car.....(as you may remember when I first joined you all at GSM I didn't want to do this at all but time has passed and I have given rides to various folks to the bus and such and so don't feel that same fear anymore...)
Even though I didn't think I knew this woman, I was up for it. A homeless woman without teeth? - of course she needs new teeth! and all had been arranged and paid for and we just needed to get her to Lewiston for 4 appointments. Then I read my co-pastor's account of getting her and her husband to the appointment on Tuesday. My initial thought was 'and her husband?!' It's one thing to have a woman ride with me but also a man I don't know?! I admit that I was not thrilled with my co-pastor....the phrase 'male privilege' crossed my mind.....But as I thought about it and prayed and considered pulling out I felt that if my co-pastor says its ok (cuz I trust him) then it will be fine. And then I read his account of the first appointment and how well it went and I was good.
So I showed up Thursday at Preble Street Resource Center to pick her and her husband up and we drove to Lewiston. It was great. We even stopped for a burger after. What happened as I talked with her mostly as her husband was in the back seat and dozing off was that once again I was reminded that we are the same, we share so much of our humanity as she spoke of their hopes for getting housing in Augusta soon and how then he might occasionally be able to see his kids. She talked about how they try to keep to themselves to stay clear of 'stuff' happening at PS. and then more than once she acknowledged him sleeping in the back seat by saying 'he feels safe'. He feels safe enough riding in the car of a stranger to go to sleep - my words. In that moment I knew Emmanuel and I was once again humbled and in awe.