I finished my first pay week of working at the treatment facility. What I feel from 4 days work is that the work they do there touches my spirit deeply. This morning when I was scooping cereal into the young peoples breakfast bowls before they woke up was a deep amount of real spirit stirring gratitude. I measured the sugar and put a scoop in each bowl and then place small plastic containers of whole milk beside their place settings minutes before I woke them up.
I've been on their side of treatment countless countless times. I knew the night staff was busy doing things to allow our day time care to take place and it was other worldly being on the other side. I felt like a parent, putting things out, doing their towel laundry and folding them with the client number on each one visible. Even as I shined a small light into each of the dorm rooms to check and see if they were in bed, I remembered the sensation of waking up in various facifacilities I was in when the night staff shined the light in. It never made me made , it never irked me it in fact made me sleep more soundly knowing I was being looked after. Now I have the flashlight. Funny how life can swap the roles for you sometimes.
I like taking care of things for people in my everyday life but doing things for these kids who have been so lost makes my chest warm. Even when I was leaving the facility and I looked across the pasture where one of the actual foster home that houses students sits. It's a giant stone multi-story that looks like some farm house in Scottland. I was grateful in a different way than I had known before. Even though my home life was really messed up and one or more of my parents never could step up emotionally for me. I never woke up an an unusually cold spring morning without two people there that I knew where my parents, that food was in the kitchen that power would come on when I flipped a switch, that clothes were clean and they fit me and I never worried about someone coming to kick us out of what I knew as home. I never NEVER touched a light switch and wondered if we had electricity, and have that be a regular normal thing that I dealt with as a young person. Those were my basic physical needs and they were always met.
How can you relive a whole lifetime is 3 minutes. Pain is pain and lonely is lonely. I guess I have just enough similarities to those parent-less children to see my pain reflected in their circumstance. I'm grateful I know how to feel that and even as I type this, I could burst into tears if my family weren't bustling in the house . I'm humbled by the fact that I can feel so deeply for strangers. I'm grateful that the pain of youth didn't get the chance to finish me off as an adult so far. I left good thoughts on each of those cereal bowls as they slept this morning, light barely breaking as tall skinny pine trees danced in the bitter cold wind of a spring time cold snap. I was present. Really present and even if the staying awake from 12-8am slightly skewed my senses, it was an experience I wouldn't have wanted to miss. I've never been a parent or even wished to be but on a very small scale I got a glimpse into the care parents show their children when their children aren't looking. There wasn't a job detail I was shown to do last night that I couldn't find care for. It was humbling to do what I could to help those young men's chances at finding some piece of information or hope to hold onto and maybe, just maybe make a difference for themselves. At 16 could I have been intervened upon? Probably not, but I was very desperate to be seen and acknowledge and I just as easily could have found it in a program like this. I just wanted someone to see me and say, "Hey, I see the real you andyou are okay". When Branch Dividian in Waco went up in flames and they talked about David Koresh, I had a small hunch that had I ran into a religious sect and they could convince me they loved and valued me, I could have been sucked in. So if I had been shown the 12 step program when I first began to bleed to death, I think something about it would have spoke to me. I like making someone Else's way a little bit easier. I like being support team. It is the spirit of service I guess. If your going to be possessed by a spirit, all in all, it's a pretty good one, but also pretty frightening at times.
Grateful, grateful, grateful. Moved and moved and moved. Thank you for this experience.