My First Day at Dry Bones Lunch . . . no, “Bible Study”
One Wednesday, I decided to go downtown to see what was going on down there. I thought, “Maybe I could find some of my friends and hang out with them.” I saw Cheeto and Bob, and we started to talk. Then Matt showed up, and they started to leave. As I watched them walk away, this loneliness came over me. They got to the car and I yelled out, “Where y’all going?” They looked back and said, “Come with us!” So I went with them. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Matt pulled into this big tan and yellow house. I could smell the food inside. Oh man, was I hungry. I hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. I wanted to run inside and start grabbing everything in sight, but I thought to myself, “Wait a minute LaDawn. You can’t do that.” First of all, it would be rude. Second, they would probably look at you like, “What is this crazy black person doing?” I was raised better then that. So I let everybody go inside first. I turned my music on, and pulled down my hat so that nobody could see me but I could still see them. Then I opened the door to the house. Wow! It was big! I’d never been in a house that was this huge. OK, LaDawn, pull yourself together. Food! There was so much food. When I came up the stairs, I found the living room. I thought, “Maybe if I sit here nobody will notice me.” “Hi, LaDawn.” Oh man, I’ve been spotted. I’d never felt my heart beat so fast. I looked up and saw Nikki was standing over me. She said, “Hi,” and that it was really good to see me here. “Time to eat,” someone else said. I sat there for a moment. Nikki turned back to me and said, “Come on LaDawn.” I looked at all of the food that sat from one end of the table to the other; it was making my mouth water! Then I looked back at Nikki. Oh well, what the heck. I guess it won’t hurt me. So I walked halfway to the table. Man, I felt like a little kid on their first day of school. My hands were sweaty, and my heart was beating fast. I told myself again, “It’s just lunch.” (That’s what I thought at first.) So, I turned to the table, and I chose to sit next to Nikki. Everybody started to make their plates, so I started to make mine too. Their plates had a lot of food on them! I put half a serving of food on my plate and very little of the other stuff I had never eaten before. I didn’t know if these people were good cooks. What if I had to walk away and spit the food out? They would notice that. “Lets pray. Who wants to pray? Cheeto? Bob?” Robbie asked both of them and they both said, “No.” So I started to pray to myself with my eyes open looking around the table at each of them. “Please God, don’t let them ask me to pray. Oh please God, I don’t want them to ask me! Oh please!” “Ok, I will,” Robbie finally said after a second. Thank you God! My mind started to wonder while Robbie was praying over the food. I wondered how this food would really taste; then, “AMEN.” “Yum! It smells good, Karen,” Matt said. I looked at him like he was crazy; thinking to myself, “Ain’t you suppose to eat the food first before you say it’s good?” Then I heard, “Who are you? I’ve never met you before?” I turned my head to see this beautiful lady. Her hair was reddish brown in color and her eyes were green. Oh man, I have to talk while I’m eating? Don’t these people know not to talk to a black person while they are eating? Well, maybe other black people can talk and eat at the same time, but not me. The next thing I knew the whole table went quiet; so quiet that you could hear the school kids playing and laughing and having a good time outside. I looked around the table hoping they weren’t watching me, but they were. I wasn’t going to get away from this woman. My mind was thinking so fast, and I was trying to come up with some option of what to say. “Fast . . . come on . . . hurry up! They’re all watching me!” But there was no way I was going to get away from this person. Come on and hurry up. They’re all staring at me. I have to make up my mind and say something. What should I do? 1. I could run out of the house but wait, LaDawn, you don’t even know where you are. I know I’m too far from Denver. The mountains are so close! 2. I can pretend I can’t hear. 3. Just answer the damn lady. Quit making things so damn hard in your life. Ok. . . Ok, here goes. “Hi, my name is LaDawn.” “See LaDawn, it wasn’t so hard,” I told myself. “My name is Karen.” I decided I could tell her a little bit about me. Everybody got done with lunch. Man, I needed a cigarette to top off the food. I just scarfed it down and was ready to go back downtown. Everybody started to move to the living room and get comfortable. Wait a minute, what’s going on? Why ain’t we going to the car? Oh please don’t let it be what I think it is. I sat in the chair to try to get comfortable myself; then I looked up. They were passing round a black book with gold letters on the front of it. One of these books came to me. I read the top of the book, “The Holy Bible.” I looked up from that Bible. This is what I got myself into?! “Everybody turn to the book of Matthew,” Robbie said. He told us the page number, but I didn’t open it. He started talking about the last supper Jesus had. I looked at the Bible again and thought to myself, “Why should I join in on this Bible study? What has God done for me in my 22 years on this earth? I have been to hell and back! Why should I be listening to this bullshit? He loves me and wants a personal relationship with me?! Where was He when I needed him the most in my life? I bet these people want me to give my life to Him. If only these people knew what I have been through!” So, I decided to take a little nap. “It won’t hurt,” I told myself while I was getting a little more comfortable. I put on my music and made sure that nobody could hear it and then pulled down on the bill of my hat making sure that they couldn’t tell that I had fallen asleep on them. I woke up just as they finished the Bible study. Wow, I woke up just in time. I looked around to see if they knew that I went to sleep on them, but they didn’t. (However, I did get caught a couple of months later.) I started to come every week after that day. It’s 3 years later. Now, I come up the stairs and Karen will be the first person I hug and say hi to. I have my own seat at the table. Other street kids come and go. I used to come to Bible study just for the food and the people and to take a nap. Every week I felt my tough heart change about the Lord our God bit by bit. I came to understand that He wants me to come back, and He wants the best for me. When Robbie asks questions in Bible study now, I speak what I think about the question. Back then, I would just listen to what people were saying about God and Jesus. I’ve been coming to Bible study for a few years but that isn’t enough for me anymore. So this year I started going to church with Nikki and Matt. From weekly Bible study and church every Sunday, I’m getting closer to the Lord our God. I’m not yet there. There is still an issue that me and Him have to work out. I want to thank everyone for reading this story and for letting me in your heart. Thank you for befriending me. May the Lord bless everyone who reads this story and for everyone who supports Dry Bones.