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.

1 comment: