Saturday, September 17, 2016

Unusual Coworkers....

I spend my office hours working in a big home, equipped to house up to thirty survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse - in seven bedrooms of various sizes with creative bedding arrangements on one side and administrative/finance offices on the other. The house has two large kitchens, two spacious living rooms, four bathrooms, a laundry room, and an expansive yard. The organization for which I work acquired the house from the county nearly twenty years ago. It had been a hotbed for the local drug trade and some bad things went down inside its walls.

Until recently, the house bustled with those who lived there, healing themselves and figuring out how to begin again. Those of us whose pleasure it was to support them on their journey worked in the background. Kids ran the hallways, climbed the furniture, laughed, and shouted, doing all of the things that healthy kids do. (Time and again, I was amazed by the resiliency of youth. In spite of witnessing horrific violence, our young friends had the ability to open their hearts and trust strangers.) The house was almost never completely quiet; someone was up, watching TV or doing laundry or making food.

All of that changed.

The shelter is temporarily closed. Bedrooms are emptied of inhabitants and their meager, but treasured belongings. Hallways are dark and silent and the TVs disconnected.The washing machines that seemed to run 24/7 no longer rattle the floorboards beneath them. Cupboards are bare and the backyard swings sit motionless.

Only one person rattles around the house now. Well, that's not entirely true. Only one, flesh and blood person.

I share a seemingly empty house with at least a few other "people". That's how I chose to see them. At one time, they were just like you and me. They had families and jobs, looked forward to holidays and made weekend plans. Perhaps they've had difficulty making the transition from our world to theirs, or maybe they simply enjoy walking around the home they once called their own. Whatever the reason, we are sharing the space. I continue to search for the balance between being respectful of them while standing firm that I have work to do and don't want to be bothered.

These spiritual beings remind me of my children as preschoolers. They do as they please.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Follow The Light

I'm pleased to report that lots of good things are happening in my life. It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Nothing remains the same. Everything is in a constant state of change. That's both comforting and unsettling, isn't it?

The new beginnings began with a job that I love - one that requires almost no interaction with other humans. I'm once again working for the Domestic Abuse Shelter, but this time around I'm the finance person. Yeah, their only one. I work in a shelter that's temporarily closed to survivors, so I'm the only person working in a big, ole house. I play music and sing as I post adjustments to the financial system, process payroll, and pay the bills. It is the perfect indoor job for me. (My only complaint is that I no longer have a maintenance man to rely on. He put the hurricane shutters on at the end of August in preparation for the potential approach of a storm, then the shelter closed, and he relocated to Key West. So....I'm working in a house all day with covered windows. There is no natural light and I can't look outside. Weird, but they tell me they'll take them down in early December. By then I might be rather mole-like.)

After the job was secured, we found a great place to live. We are officially out of the jungle and away from its frightening inhabitants and back on the water. It feels so good to look out and see the ocean smiling at me. I missed being so close to her. I missed her smell and the calming affect she has on my soul. I can't imagine better therapy for sadness, restlessness, and anything else that might ail.

We still have a few boxes to unpack, but for the most part, we are settled and it already feels like home. I am content to just putter around the house moving things around until they seem happy. I'm very content here. Our jungle house was not a comfortable place to be; the bugs and scary things that lurked around the yard kept us inside all of the time. There was no view, except thick jungle and spider webs. Shortly after dusk each evening, spiders crept out from the dense foliage and covered our cars. They even made their way inside, only to show themselves while we drove, helpless to do much about it. That's over. No more nightly takeovers by those many-legged demons. We're graced with beautiful, salty breezes and a perpetual view of Mother Ocean.

The recklessness I felt has mostly subsided. Commitment doesn't seem to be an issue, either. I'm calm and happy and feel whole again.

I continue to follow the light.