The first time Misti met John was when he came into Center of Hope for food. John was on crutches after his leg had to be removed due to health reasons. His gaze was turned down to the floor and he made no eye contact as Misti tried to greet him. After sitting down and asking a few questions, Misti could tell John was suffering greatly. In addition to his leg, he was dealing with a 6 centimeter brain tumor. It was clear John had lost all hope.
As Misti took John through the intake process, she was able to learn a bit more. He needed medical care for his teeth and eyes and was currently taking medication for depression. As his life coach, Misti knew the importance of building a relationship with John, so she continued to listen and offered plenty of prayer and support. As she expected, it took many more conversations before John finally opened up.
Many months passed before John came back to visit Center of Hope. As he entered the room, he saw Misti and yelled, “Stop! Don’t come any closer. I am coming to you.” John, without his crutches, started walking over to Misti. “Can you believe this,” exclaimed John. “I am able to walk on my own!” John was smiling ear to ear and was excited to tell Misti that not only did he receive a prosthetic leg, but he had received medicine for his eyes and he was fitted for a new bridge for his teeth. In addition, he was able to back off his mood stabilizer and anti-depressants.
“This is what progress looks like,” he said to Misti. “I still have anger, but I am not letting it drive the bus anymore. I am content and I really like where I am.”
Misti could tell John was a changed person. He was making eye contact, sitting up in his chair, and actually talking. Best of all, he was smiling and laughing, something she had not seen him do.
“You were my only cheerleader,” he said to Misti. “Basic decency is rare, but I found it here at Center of Hope. You all gave me a reason to keep trying and move forward. I want you to know how grateful I am to you all. It is crazy to think for the first time in a long while, I have nothing to be sad about.”
We can count the number of groceries that we give and the number of classes people take, but what really makes a difference are the relationships we build with one another. John still has a long road ahead of him. In these past few months, John’s brain tumor has continued to grow and he and his doctor have been going over the risks of surgery. But no matter what John is going through, he knows Center of Hope will be there, praying for him and supporting him along his journey.