Will others, when you need their help most, let you down or be there for you?

Are people good to each other in their desperate hour of need? Who will take care of me if I can’t take care of myself? Who will be there for me when I am dying? Who will hold my hand?

Jerri and her family have answered that question. Her whole family volunteers with Hospice. If you don’t know, “Hospice is a special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.”

Basically, they are compassionate people who will be there for anyone when they are getting ready to give up the ghost. But it doesn’t surprise me at all that Jerri is involved with this, it seems that what is noble compassion for others, is just the way Jerri lives her life from day to day.

Within 30 seconds of meeting Jerri she said to me, “Thank you for what you are doing, and please tell me how I can help.” Help she did, she put together a care package for me filled with salad, granola, nuts, soap, ointments, and even TP.

She would like to join me on the road she says, but she realizes that she can do the most good where she is at, here in Waco. She told me with tears in her eyes, that not a day goes by without being constantly reminded of the pain of 20 years ago. The fires that took all those children’s lives haunt this town, and beg every person to deal with the aftermath. Everyone in town knows that something was “fishy”.

On day one of the siege, they had already brought in tanks to, “Knock on the door” of the compound. They say it was guns that prompted the extreme show of force, but that is more like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight. The 11 million citizens of Texas possess 86 million guns legally, so how were those at the Branch Davidian compound any different???

20 years on…the town still reels from the idea that perhaps they could have done something different, perhaps they should have done something different…and the haunting knowledge that someone else could be next. Not being able to change the past, Jerri and her family do what they can in the present.

Jerri wasn’t able to grab and hold the hands of the children to lead them out of the fire, but she can hold the hands of those who are dying today, and her servant’s heart prompts her and her family to love all who are in need.

Waco now stands along with slavery, Tuskegee, Indian reservations, internment camps, Guantanamo Gay, Abu Ghraib, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and any other place the US’ boot has crushed the innocent and created pain. These places bear witness of our collective failure and disgrace. They serve as holes by which our vaunted national pride and patriotism cannot cover. They are ruptures and fractures of our very humanity, and serve as the conduits down which America is draining. Jerri and her family have firmly planted their feet in the miasma and they cast their arms wide to rescue all whom will accept their hands.

She could not save those other innocents, but she will help all whom she can now. How could any of us do less?