Getting up is what’s important


By Debbie

“My name is Debbie. I’ve been with Micah for a while.

I grew up in Madison in the mountains. I stayed in a foster home from the time I was seven until I was 15 to 18, something like that. I’m 62 now.

I came to Fredericksburg in 2010. My daughter and I actually came up this way when we were offered a job in Chancellor at a daycare. Things went wrong, so then we had no where to go. We lived at the Thomas Jefferson Motel for quite a few years, but things happened and I couldn’t afford it anymore.

I have four children all together, a son and a daughter that are mine and another son and daughter from my ex-husband.

My mom and dad were not around for much of my life. Once they took us away, none of our family was allowed to so much as ask where we at or how we were doing. But some of the principals would let my nanny and my aunt Mary sneak into school to see us. That was pretty awesome. As far as anyone else, they wouldn’t let us see them. I learned to cook from my foster mother.She was from South Carolina, so her cooking was really good.

I’ve done convenience store work and fast food restaurant work. I used to work at the college doing housekeeping. I worked for Spotsylvania schools as a custodian. I’ve done a lot of landscaping and tree work, but I can’t do that right now even if I tried.

I found Micah when someone told me about it. I just walked in one day and asked for help. they pointed me in the right direction. I’ve had some bumps along the way, but I finally have pretty much everything straightened out.

I finally got an apartment. March 31 will be a year. I still want a house in the country so I can have a garden and chickens. If I don’t get it, oh well. I’m happy here. It’s nice. No body bothers you. At least it’s a place I can call home. My kids and my grandkids can come visit me. My baby sister finally got to come see me. That’s a miracle that we reconnected, because all my siblings were adopted out. We got to spend Thanksgiving together, and that’s the first Thanksgiving we’ve had together in almost 53 years. it was just amazing.

I was homeless off and on for 10 to 11 years. I’ve had two actual places since I’ve been up here.

Thanks to everyone who helps people pull through. Y’all have everything there, all the people have to do is choose to accept the help and do.

Loving neighbor means helping out, being there for someone to talk to, being a listening ear. For me, it’s cooking. I love to feed people and if I can do it, I love doing things for people and doing things with people. With the booster home, the first one they put us in, they taught us that. I was also raised up in the Baptist Church. We always did for less fortunate people. Plus, I know what it’s like not to have food to eat. I know what it’s like to go to school hungry or with raggedy clothes; and you don’t like to see anyone having to go through that. I think that’s what it is.

You never know what that person is going through. I’ve been in tears before and someone will come up and talk to me, and it makes a difference. It’s being there and treating someone good and nice. You never know what’s going on in their head or out here or whatever. I’ve been to a lot of different places.

God has always been there for me. He has looked out for me in ways that I can’t explain. I know he’s here. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. You know sometimes, when you are in a rush to go somewhere, and you are running late. Well, you might be five or six cars behind where you would have been.Then, BOOM. If you had been where that car was, you wouldn’t be here.

Through all the ups and downs, I’ve managed to get myself back up. I’ve learned a whole lot. It doesn’t hurt to fall down, but getting up is what is important. I think I’ve done good this last go round.”

Years ago, unhoused neighbors would be released from the hospital with doctor’s orders to go home and get better. They didn’t have a home, so they would often be readmitted, face worsening conditions and accrue thousands of dollars in bills neither they, nor the hospital system, could afford.

Micah Respite, in partnership with Mary Washington Hospital, offers a vital safety net to neighbors requiring temporary or terminal care. It serves approximately 75 people each year and has a demonstrated track record of reducing readmissions, shortening inpatient stays and offering better patient care.

Fredericksburg’s downtown churches began their journey toward the vision for Micah Ecumenical Ministries almost 18 years ago. We’ve now been at this as many years as there are miles to the treacherous Jericho Road of the Good Samaritan story. Along the way, encounters with our neighbors’ suffering have taught us much about the home God envisions for humanity, and how we are called to take part.