Saturday, August 22, 2015

Healing Threads and Growing Hope

Imagine, if you will, a woman in the sex trade. The local prostitute. The hooker working the street. What does she look like? Is she the Hollywood call-girl? The tired junkie? Who is she?

Perhaps you have seen the girls on the corner. Did they linger in your mind? Did you wonder? Who is she?

Today I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours with some of these women. A wonderful friend of mine has started Hope Grows, working to help women in the sex trade. This afternoon was the first Healing Threads. The ladies were served pizza, veggies and dip, coffee and tea, cupcakes. They listened to a performer who was there just for them. They got to go "shopping" for clothing, jewelry, toiletries, and whatever else had been donated for the event.

Some of these women have left the sex trade years ago and are there to help others. Others have just left, are in the process of leaving, or are trying to get out. Others are likely turning tricks tonight.

But none of that mattered. Today, they were allowed to just be themselves. I would wager that most, if not all, of these women would not make eye contact with me if I were to meet them on the street. Today they did. I heard stories and saw pictures of babies. I was given a glimpse, for a moment, of who they are. And they were beautiful. Every last one of them.

The smiles on their faces as they showed off their "purchases" made my day. They were so excited. One woman walked out and said, "I got all the best stuff in there," teasing those who hadn't yet had a turn.

When it was time to leave, several ladies came up and asked if they could take some pizza home with them. For supper tonight. For her daughter. For her sister who was in the hospital. For her mom.

Then I wondered, what is it like for her mom. What dreams did she have for her daughter? Did she have a similar life, maybe still does? Even if she did, surely she had hoped that her own child would become more. Still hopes.

And I wondered, what dreams did she have for herself when she was little? What did she want to be when she grew up? What hopes and dreams does she have now?

Perhaps most importantly, how can we help her fulfill those dreams? How can we care for that seed of hope so that it flourishes and does great things? Because you know what happens to hope when you nourish it?

It grows.

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