Wichita – A Place Where Everyone Matters

November 14, 2013

Miracles & Blessings, Uncategorized

airplaneAtSunsetOn the eve of his emergency, heart bypass surgery, I arrived in Wichita, Kansas, just in time to see, Greg, my 58-year old brother.  The awful things my brother did in the past no longer mattered to anyone, not even to me.  It didn’t matter in the youth of his manhood, he was that guy every girl wanted to call boyfriend.  To my mother he was the “Adonis” of her 5 children, the one with all the good looks, charm, charisma, and athletic prowess.   She never lived to know the truth of his fate:  When decades of drug and alcohol abuse finally collided with middle-aged, bi-polar and schizophrenia, it was an unwinnable situation.  It destroyed my mother’s Adonis, but more importantly, it destroyed our sibling relationship and part of my family.  When my conscience asked me to fly to Wichita,  beyond the ego of pain to the business of the heart, I realized our relationship, my siblings and family matter. 

 My sense of compassion helped me walk through the door of fear, and upon arrival, it seemed I said over 16 years of hello.  It was hard for Greg to believe I was there.  He didn’t think I loved him that much to make the trip.  With the help of our other 3 brothers, I was the sibling representative to show Greg that no matter how much heartache he caused in the past, he was not alone.   He matters.   I just couldn’t imagine him leaving this world feeling unloved and alone.  And if he didn’t make it, I had to be in Wichita to say good-bye.  The metaphor of his aloneness is haunting, and “aloneness” shadows many.  They matter. 

 Many times I opted for walking the streets for transportation instead of the hotel’s courtesy shuttle.  I just wanted to see my brother’s streets and experience a bit of his life.  The first day, I walked the street where society’s outcasts were waiting in lines for help.  A plethora of non-profits and churches lined the street, answering their prayers regardless of their past mistakes.   It was my brother’s skid row, but also filled with people devoted to serving God by helping the sick, the impoverished and those in need.  They all matter.

 Each day in Wichita, I experienced an unexpected kindness.  The volunteer who gave me a private waiting room for the 5-6 hour surgery stayed beyond her shift because she didn’t want to leave until the doctor talked to me.  The Living God was present through her kind, caring and thoughtful ways that day.  She was an angel who kept me informed of my brother’s progress each step of the surgery.  His past abuses were of no issue.  A man undergoing by-pass surgery and his waiting sister were people who matter. 

 One of the courtesy shuttle drivers apologized for overhearing “my Greg update conversation” with a dear friend, one of his many, but unconquered, crushes, from the past.  Why did he always seem to have an eye for one of my friends?  But our fights didn’t matter to the driver who gave me a business card for a charity that might help in Greg’s post recovery situation.  Three weeks later she was the angel who drove Greg home from the hospital, and the angel who cleaned his apartment.  It didn’t matter it was a living Petri dish.  What mattered was Greg.  She understood and accepted the living conditions of those with mental illness and substance abuse and understood their path of destruction.  They matter.

 The wonderful mid-west is often the brunt of late-night television hosts, mocked as “ the fly over states” or  for their “bible verse ways.”  I am grateful Greg can call Wichita home.  Located in the “heartland of America,” it is a special place filled with Angels who are the answer to a city full of prayers.  These Angels matter.

 Life is a prayer, and it matters.   Prayers Work. 


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Mary Ann L. Smith

About Mary Ann L. Smith

Called to shine the great light on the living beauty of faith through prayer

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2 Responses to “Wichita – A Place Where Everyone Matters”

  1. Heidi Johnson Says:

    I have waited for a quiet moment to read your beautiful words. Your parents are smiling from above with pride as they watch the way you share your light with all you know and most especially with their beloved son, your brother. You are a gift to us all. Thank you for taking us with you on your journey.


  2. Rich Says:

    You have come away with the Best of Blessings. I will pray for Greg’s recovery.-Rich


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