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Angela... "Things are okay. I just wanted to talk with you again."
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By: Gil Clelland - Sanctuary London

It all starts here, God's love for each one of us. He is the One chasing after us when we walk away, waiting for the moment when we stumble back...and He runs...undignified...with His ridiculous love. That how God sees us...with His eyes of Love!

Amanda was new to London. Her slimy room in that greasy hotel reminded her every day how poor she was now...how it came tumbling down. A few years ago, she graduated high school in Kingston. A life of hope stretched out before her. In her first year of college, she met Mark, the rough guy in school. She was immediately attracted. The boys she knew growing up in her middle class neighbourhood were 'boring'. Sure, some went a few kilometres over the speed limit in their cars. But in those guys, Amanda saw that same pattern — get married, have a few kids, work, retire, and die. Amanda wanted some excitement. So, she and Mark became inseparable.

But it all went wrong. A party...a few too many drinks...and a needle. The doctor would later ask Mark if he remembered if the needle was clean. Mark didn't remember much from that night. But it changed his life forever. He was now a 'carrier.' He would have to take medicine every day...and hope for the best. Mark blamed everyone. Amanda stood by him. He got angry, had a wild temper, and Amanda stood by him. Mark wanted to run. So, they came to Mark's hometown of London and stayed in a cheap hotel room. Often Mark went out with the boys. So, for days at a time, Amanda sat in the hotel room alone.

Amanda couldn't tell me when her depression started. She knew that the hotel and those conditions made it worse. So, she admitted herself to the hospital. She needed rest. Amanda's only friend in London, Lisa, came to visit her. The hotel, Lisa informed Amanda, was throwing out all her stuff. In her hospital gown she took a taxi. Lisa was right. It was all gone. At that moment, she saw Mark slumped over. “I'm sorry. It's all my fault.” Mark tried to explain how his interaction with the guy at the front desk went horribly sour. It didn't matter though. Amanda just wanted to rest. They went to the river and tried to sleep under a tarp. Amanda cuddled in close to Mark...to stay warm.

Some of the people we meet sleep by the river. It's a harsh reality we see regularly for many different reasons. So weekly, Darryl and I look for new people by the river. Darryl found Mark and Amanda just after sundown in November of last year. Amanda was wearing nothing but a hospital gown and would not look Darryl in the eye. Mark was embarrassed but wanted help. After they declined an invitation to come with him to a shelter, Darryl rushed home to get some sleeping bags, a tent, some clothes, a few groceries, and some coffee. As he handed over the treasures, he invited them to join us the next day at our drop-in. That's where I met Mark and Amanda. They talked for over an hour over warm soup and a sandwich. Through distant gazes and awkward responses, I heard most of the story I shared with you above. They came back to our drop-in twice after that...and I have not seen them again.

Amanda called me last month (and every two weeks ever since). She was in a different hotel. She was safe. Mark was serving time for a run-in he had that went bad. Amanda was waiting for him. She loved him. After a quick update, I asked if she needed anything. "Nope, things are okay. I just wanted to talk with you again."