There too, but for the Grace of God,Go I

A few years ago my friend, Melina, and I were discussing women from some depressed culture–I don’t remember but it may have been toothless, cacao chewing, Columbian women or flood victims in a foreign country and Melina looked at me and said, “There too, but for the grace of God.” Amen, sister. Amen.

Today I came into town to have a new windshield installed and to attend my step-Granny’s funeral.  I met my daughter, Eli and her friend, Erica, at Olive Garden for lunch. As I walked toward the entrance to the restaurant, I saw a woman collapse or more realistically I watched as she disappeared from view and then realized she was on the ground, face down, with pasta and kidney beans scattered all around her. I rushed over and asked if I could help but the woman wasn’t coherent enough to respond at the moment. A manager also came out to assist and ran back inside to call an ambulance. I couldn’t tell if she had fainted or had a stroke or was just, already, falling down drunk on New Year’s Eve.

As it turns out, judging by her breath, the bottle rattling in her bag and her insistence that she was, “Shit,” it was the latter. She told the manager that she’d been drinking since early morning because no one loved her and she didn’t have anywhere to go. The bottle in her bag was one she had swiped off the shelf on her way out of Olive Garden. 
Once we had her settled on a bench and second staff member came out, I excused myself and went to find the girls.
We had a nice lunch but my mind kept going back to the woman out front. Why? What was going on in her life that she was alone, falling down drunk at 11:30 am on New Year’s Eve? On the way out the door I asked the young man at the host station about her and he said that she was outside in an ambulance and that was the only thing keeping her from driving off in her car. The officers standing by the ambulance were waiting for someone to pick her up and, bless them, I don’t think anyone gave her a ticket or charged her with theft.
When I got into my van, with it’s newly-installed windshield, I just sat there for moment pondering my life. I’ve been depressed recently. Sad. Tired. Bummed with life. Me! Me with 5 great, no WONDERFUL kids and a husband who, though he may be disconnected and out of touch with his family, is also stable, hard-working, and he loves me. I have enough of everything and an abundance of almost everything. What on earth do I have to be depressed about? There too, but for the grace of God, go I.
note about depression: I get it. It’s supposed to be a chemical imbalance. I read the pamphlet.


About Bettina Colonna Essert

Illuminated Magdalene High Priestess and facilitator of empowerment and healing circles for girls and women, including a monthly Red Tent Temple. BA in English, minor in anthropology. Waldorf homeschool mom. Reiki master, cranial sacral therapist, herbalist, menstruvist, feminist, epicurian.
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