She is different everytime I see her.
On Monday she was scrubbed up nice with a multi-coloured woollen jersey pulled on over her trackpants. She proudly informed me that it was new, given to her by a lovely lady at the Methodist church.
'It's nice, isn't it?' she said, smitten, pulling it out from her and waiting for my answer. I agreed.
As we waited for her pizza to be cooked, I caught glimpses of what her life had been.
Kids, a proper job, death, alcohol, drugs, the streets.
And in that moment as she told me this I wondered, what is she thinking? regret? a sense of disappointment? Was there any other way? Did someone try to stop it?
Tonight, as if she were a completely different figure, bumbling down the main street, hair dishevelled, and a look of detachment in her eyes, asking anyone and everyone for change.
'Please miss can I have some change?' she looks into my eyes.
As we sit there, more of the story comes out. Her and her partner have had a fight. She got on the drink. Today was payday and she's used it all with no money for food.
She asks if I have a partner and I shake my head.
'You're lucky' she says in her raspy voice and says something about how she needs to get off the drink.
She's right. I am lucky.
I am lucky to have a home, have a solid life, have had a good upbringing, have had love, have opportunities, have choices, have a job I can hold down, and am lucky that I am not so attached to drink that I will go without food in order to have it. I make choices day to day, not thinking about the consequences, and thats what she did also.
Her consequences were just a little more drastic.
I bet when she started back in the day, she would never have realised this is where she would end up. That she would be relying on strangers to get her through.
I wonder what the solution is? what made her start?
This woman has a special place in my heart but she needs hope. It's not enough to tell her that Jesus loves her, she needs to see him act in her life.
I will continue to catch glimpses of where she's been, who she is and what can be done.
But she also needs food, a home, someone who cares enough to pull her out of what she's in.
We can do so much but Jesus needs to do the rest.
I have wild hope that he will come through for his daughter, Margaret.