Healing from Hooker Hill… Christine McDonald

Hopelessness, helplessness, and victimization can’t be narrowly defined, as proven by this conversation between two ultimately courageous human beings… These conditions exist across the broad spectrum of humanity, and there is only one place to find peace: from the Prince of Peace. —Mike Low (in response to the social media blurb I wrote about the following experience)

Only our God could have facilitated such an encounter. I think of these moments not only as winks from God, but as confirmation that folks are being reached from both sides. If I had not walked the path that I did, God could not have used me in the way that He has.

I spoke at a statewide summit on recovery practices held at a university. Among the other speakers were some people who were well–respected in my state and nationally. After I spoke, I was moved by the extended standing ovation from the audience. Even today, after having been honored with a number of them, such an ovation causes me to tremble in my soul. It is an extremely humbling and tremendous honor, moving me beyond words.

Soon after leaving the stage, I was approached by a woman. She informed me that she was not a professional but had her own reasons for attending the conference—reasons which she did not, at that moment, disclose. She asked me questions about the years I worked the streets in Kansas City, Missouri. She had seen photos of my mug shots. She shared that she lived halfway down the block of Independence Avenue and Spruce, a corner I had been known for working.

She said she and her son had lived there for a number of years. She described how the traffic from the working women kept her son up many nights. I said I was sorry for that experience for her and her family and her son. I validated her feelings.

She relayed that she hadn’t felt safe there. She went on to talk about the men picking up women, the women fighting with their pimps, the police stings, the beatings from the pimps, the numerous scenes she and her son had witnessed in their day–to–day life. Our trauma had become their demons.

As she spoke, she touched my hands. I rested my other hand on top of hers as she continued to speak. She remembered me very well. She remembered driving past me as she went home; she also remembered seeing me on the corner when her son would be getting off the school bus. She recalled watching me lose weight. She remembered the disruption in their home due to the women working that place we called Hooker Hill.

Then she paused, and I heard her sniffle. She gripped my hand and asked me for a hug. She confessed that she never saw past the prostitutes on that corner back then. She hadn’t understood their lives. While listening to my story and my words and watching the impact it had on the professionals who worked with criminals, she watched the crowd engage with every word. She said she saw hope in their eyes.

She thanked me for showing her that change and hope are possible among a population she had previously viewed as hopeless. She was glad I had survived and made it to the other side. She said she was honored to have met me.

We were each validated that day, but for different reasons. The conversation gave us both a chance to heal. Although I don’t remember her from my days on the streets, I do remember the school bus turning the corner. We would step back from the walkway as children would run past us, staring or calling us names or pointing at us.

There was a clear separation between us and the individuals who lived on the very streets where we had existed for years. Never once did we speak to them, nor they to us. Yet we were an everyday part of one another’s lives.

That day in that crowded university, a small chip of wholeness was restored, I believe, for the both of us. Only God’s divine direction could have facilitated such an encounter. Here we both were, so many years after I had worked that corner. It is almost unimaginable that we would encounter each other, miles away from Kansas City, in the most unexpected of places.

I believe that restoration takes on many facets. Wholeness comes in large pieces and small chips. Each one is equally valuable and necessary. That day I felt a connection to a stranger whom I had lived close to for the eight years she and her little boy lived in that house on Hooker Hill. One more little chip of healing took place.

Never underestimate the value of one small act, one simple glance, or one brief conversation. When God prompts your heart to reach out and touch another, do it. In responding, you might be part of the healing in someone
else’s life—not to mention your own.

Contact Information:
Christine C. McDonald
636-487-8986
Christine.CryPurple@gmail.com

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

Through The Eyes of Grace – Christine C McDonald https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEj5RbFpuzjx_CuksAqgyXA/featured

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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