|Smoke rises. Snow begins to fall.|
There's lots of it here up on the roof. And my earplugs have once again become my new best friends in the night.
I am grateful this morning for a good night's sleep. I find it surprising -- how well I've slept up here. Sure, there are intermittent moments of wakefulness, brief segments of time where I stir awake, like when my tent mate Dave gets up in the middle of the night to use the facilities.
I'm getting smarter -- in just two days! I remember to not close the pantry door through which we enter the kitchen when I get up to use the washroom during the night. The first night, I discovered the hard way that you can open the pantry door from the inside -- but not from the other side.
|Nasha and Cindy by the pantry door|
It was a better night last night. My body is becoming accustomed to the mat and the environment. I feel less exposed, less out of place.
And yes, gratitude is deepening. As is an appreciation of what people endure who really are roughing it in the night.
It is not easy.
It is not fun.
For those who really are sleeping rough, it can be a matter of life and death.
Have you found a secluded enough spot that no one will find you? No one being not just law officials looking to roust you but also -- or maybe mostly -- other people looking to do you harm and/or take what you've got.
|The smoke deck in the night|
Will anyone care. One of the toughest fears.
Who will care that I'm here?
Who will care if I'm gone?
The challenge of homelessness. Taking care of yourself even when you fear nobody cares.
I see that here a lot -- the fear that nobody cares. The fear that my life means nothing and so I may as well just keep going on the path I'm on.
And still the will to live, the human spirits drive to stay alive keeps pushing, keeps pulling people forward.
Driven by fear, drawn by courage to stay alive.
People often comment that working at a shelter must be depressing.
I always reply, no. It's one of the most inspiring places I've ever worked. Every morning, people get up. People who's lives have taken twists and turns and brought them down to places I could never imagine. Yet, every morning they get up and take another step. They continue to keep living, to keep pushing forward, no matter the circumstances of their lives.
I wonder if that courage is within me. To keep getting up no matter how far or hard life has pushed me down.
Working here has taught me so much about being human. About our shared human condition.
And more than anything, it has taught me to revere life. My life. The lives of everyone around me.
It is a sacred journey, this thing called life.
And no matter our condition, it is a journey we share.
Morning breaks. The shelter awakens and I begin my day with gratitude and awe nestling inside my heart.
May your day be filled with light and love and laughter. May you know the warmth of friendship, and feel the will of life pulling you into a day of beauty.