Jean lived in Miami for many years. She describes her life as “a life lost in the party world.” She spent the last six years of her time in Miami addicted to cocaine, drinking and promiscuity. Jean describes herself in those years as “having two faces” so no one – including her husband and children – would know her “dirty deeds.”
Jean says the devil always provided her with a way to get her drugs. She felt guilty because she knew her neighborhood was not the place she and her husband wanted to raise their children. However, if she left, she would no longer have access to the drugs to which she had become addicted. She knew it was just a matter of time before her husband found out what she was doing.
One day she woke up feeling sick. She felt terrible for several days and did not know why. Jean told one of her street friends how she was feeling and he suggested she get an HIV test, which she did at a local clinic. The results came back inconclusive. The people at the clinic told Jean they would need to send the test to Tallahassee and that it would take two weeks for the results to come back. Jean did a lot of soul searching during that time. She realized this life would eventually destroy her family and herself. She wanted to tell her family about her secret life but was afraid of hurting them or, worse, losing them.
After struggling through the worst two weeks of her life, Jean’s results finally came back. She tested negative for HIV.
Jean said she realized she had just gotten another chance at life. She sat down with her husband and had an honest conversation. At first, he was very angry and Jean was afraid that her marriage would end. Jean explained to her husband that God had given her a second chance at life and this time she wanted to get it right. Eventually, her husband agreed that a second chance was a good thing. He was willing to provide that second chance, as long as Jean was willing to leave Miami.
Jean agreed and the family moved to Sarasota County. Jean describes herself at this point in her life as a “broken soul.” She wanted to work badly. She decided to apply for a job at Goodwill. She interviewed and got the job!
When Jean talks about her employer she says, “Goodwill takes in the lost souls.” Now Jean feels she is leading a normal life. Her children are happy and have adjusted well to their new home. Jean and her husband are closer than ever. Jean is so grateful to Goodwill for helping her get the normalcy in her life she so desperately needed.
This week, as others ring in a new year, Jean says she is going to be celebrating a new life. She is glad Goodwill was there when she decided it was time to go get that new life. It’s what we do …