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As the sun came up, Hannah was quietly making her exit as usual. She followed the worn path that led down the hill and, as she descended, the mud began to build up on her sneakers.
At the bottom, she made the familiar turn to the huge pile of garbage and, with a smile and a wave, began to run to meet her friends. Even as her friends scoured the mound, the huge trucks kept bringing more and more to add to the pile.
For Hannah, it was usually an adventure but today it was different. She searched all over for Lisa but could not find her best friend. As she scanned the mountain of garbage for her friend, she noticed, for the first time, the other kids picking up things and putting them in their mouths. It seemed odd to her but her mind quickly returned to Lisa. She turned to head toward the tiny little village of homes made from whatever could be found on the hill of garbage. She sloshed her way through the muddy paths until she came to Lisa’s little shanty. As she pulled back the tattered sheet that was used as a door, she noticed Lisa lying on the cot. Today, Lisa barely moved at the sight of her friend. As Hannah sat down on the edge of the cot, she noticed a small scrap of paper that was clasped in Lisa’s hand. Today, Lisa was worse and could not even get up to go to the hill for food. Hannah sat with her and just stared as she watched her friend slowly fade away. As she saw Lisa’s chest stop rising and falling, she pulled the scrap of paper from her hand. She was just able to make out the words through the dirt from the hill. She read about a promised house with many rooms and of a promise to prepare a place for you. She continued on and read of a promise to come back. Finally, she read “You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Hannah left her friend and clutched the paper as she headed back up the path to her home. As she entered the door, she was met yet again with a scowl as she tracked the mud onto the beautiful granite tile of the kitchen. The scowl quickly left as her mother saw the tears run down Hannah’s face and saw her little arm holding out the scrap of paper. Hannah asked “mommy where is this place and where did Lisa go?”
Hannah was startled as the attendant touched her arm and said “we have another friend”. She had been sitting in the chair on the patio gazing over the hill at the green field below. She arose and went through the house to the front entry. A few moments later the social worker’s car pulled up and Hannah rushed to open the door. She greeted the little girl with a big hug and they turned to enter the home. As they passed under the sign that said “Hannah’s Friends” they entered the large doors. They stopped for a second in front of the old pictures on the wall of the entryway and a tear rolled down Hannah’s face. The black and white photos showed a huge mountain of garbage and a tiny little shanty town.
Her day came to a close in the same way that it had for the last twenty years. Hannah opened the worn Bible that had been beside her bed. She read again the words of 1 Corinthians Chapter 4 and fell asleep with a vision of Lisa that really never left her mind.