Several years ago I met a young girl I will call “Kay”. Kay was maybe 16 or 17 when I first became aware of her. She was a not only a beauty, but she was a gifted singer and dancer. I had been working with the Junior Company (a performance training ground for talented kids) for a few years, and then – as now – I loved working with those great kids. Anyway, Kay was brilliantly talented, and she was around the same age as my own kids. I absolutely loved watching Kay perform on stage – and she performed a lot.
Like many kids that grow up in and around our theatre company, when Kay was around 19 she stepped out of the spotlight for a time while she went to college and worked. Kay was growing up. I would occasionally run into Kay’s mom at church and although we didn’t know one another outside of church or the theatre, we would exchange polite conversation. Then life happened. All my focus and energy turned to my kids as two of them plummeted into the giant abyss of drug addiction. One day I went with my son to a family drug counseling session and sitting in the room was Kay’s brother and her parents. Like so many of us, the evil ravages of addiction were assaulting their family. Kay’s mom and I connected immediately.
I grew to love Kay’s mom. My son was living on the street, and her son was in the same predicament. We encouraged and prayed for one another. Sometimes Kay would be at church with her mom, but it was apparent that she was wrestling with demons of her own. One day, about a year and a half ago, I was driving down the road and Kay’s name popped into my head. Okay, it was more like her name exploded in my head. I pulled over to the side of the road and wrote down her name and the date. I prayed for Kay everyday for the next two weeks. Then, on a Tuesday night while driving home from choir, I was listening to the local news in my car and it was announced that two arrests had been made in connection with a string of home invasion robberies. They said Kay’s name. I pulled over and called Kay’s mom, who had not yet heard that her daughter was in jail. She said, however, that she hadn’t heard from Kay in over two weeks and just that morning she had prayed, “God, please let me know by the end of the day that Kay is alive”. I said, “she’s alive and she’s in a safe place”. I knew then why God had placed Kay on my heart two weeks before. I wrote to Kay while she was in jail and did my best to encourage her. My son had been right where she was and I hoped my letter would lighten her heart. We exchanged several cards and letters over the next few months.
It has been a year and a half (or more) and Kay’s sentence was severe, but she was given the option of being sent away for a two-year stint in rehab. That is where she is today. Sunday at church someone said, “Liz, do you know that there’s a gift in the office for you?” It had been in there for two weeks! I collected the Christmas bag, stuffed with red and gold tissue, and I found tucked inside a beautiful flowerpot that had been hand made and painted by Kay! She had sent it home with her parents when they had visited her in October. The poor little plant had been neglected and was turning yellow, but it was alive. I cried as I read the card. I cried as I unwrapped the pot. I cried and cried. Kay was working on getting well, but had taken a moment to think of me. I am humbled!
Thank you Kay! I pray for you and your family every day. I’m so proud of you.