day by day
I found a seat-there were rows of hard, old fashioned oak chairs lined up too closely for large coats and elbow room. I felt uncertain, but filled out an index card with my pertinent information and took the photocopied hand-outs to my seat. The next three and a half hours consisted of healthcare workers explaining what we may run into as volunteers for the night shift with the women who use the shelter and a tour of the facility. Typically mental illness is involved, but the explanations and scenarios given of what we may encounter seemed rather daunting to a group of largely older women. Questions and answers broke the tension, a tv crew came in and I ran into a woman who I'd seen in our Saturday morning prison group. She's come full circle, from being an inmate, to homeless, to renewing dreams of school and family, to now wanting a volunteer position. I admit I was fearful, but running into this young woman reminded of where I've come from, a person who would never even dream of coming to a training like this, but here I am.
I pondered the past year, and years of my life. I think if my parents were alive, my mother in particular, and living in our town, she'd be sitting right next to me. I like the thought of that. I also thought, "But for the grace of God, I could be in one of the beds and not a volunteer chair". What will happen next, and why am I here? The one thing I can say is, it is never boring serving. I've come to see that real love needs a name and a face, and it's mine.