For some reason, I thought I'd be immune to the effects that winter has... after all, I'm totally in love with the work I am doing, I'm obsessed with my housemates and our community, and I love who I'm working with. But, as it turns out, I've found myself wanting to be home and wanting some type of familiarity.
Last week was a particularly difficult week... I think a combination of the weather and the gravity of the situations we all dealt with here at the Inn have been weighing me down. Come to find out, I need sunshine. Big time. In addition, I thought I was the "tough one" in my house. The work that we've been doing seems to have been affecting Emily and Maureen moreso than myself. In one of my previous entries I talked about Angela and her baby Bianca as well as her son Jeremy. (If you don't remember, feel free to go take a look) It seemed as though things started to look up for this family. Monday afternoon I was working at the Inn, basically killing time until the meal started and Angela walked in. She had two black eyes and a severe gash with stitches on her face that stretched from the left side of her nose through her ear. She told us that she was walking to the corner store to get cigarettes around midnight last Saturday. A man stopped and, convinced she was a prostitute, tried getting her into his car. Because she refused, he attacked her and tried to rape her. He cut her face with a bottle and the slice ended up cutting her ear in two. She has stitches that go across her face and it is swollen and bruised.
Naturally everyone on the Team was shocked. When we said, "We're so sorry" she simply said "Oh, it happens to the best of us". For the first time since I've been here, I felt overwhelmed. I had to turn away because I had tears in my eyes. It was not an easy day after that.
Luckily I had Tuesday off. I welcomed it because I was in desperate need of a break. I had a doctor's appointment because in my endeavor to begin marathon training, both my feet have been giving me a hard time. After talking to the expert runners on the Team, I was advised to go to the doctor. So, just in time for my doctor's appointment, my left knee began to give me problems as well. I was told that running and even walking is off the docket for right now, at least until I go to physical therapy twice a week for a month. Not only does this not leave me enough time to train for the Broad Street Run, something the three of us were planning to do, but it's also not looking good for marathon training. I'm really bummed but have decided that it's more important not to mess my knees up at 23 years old than to do this marathon thing. And I have hopes that I will make a recovery and maybe will be able to do the Philadelphia marathon in November.
Wednesday and Thursday were basically the same day as I was the "gopher" for the coordinator and Friday I coordinated on a snowy/rainy day. It seemed as if everyone had a catastrophe that they asked me to avert. Brandy, a 22-year-old mother of 3-year-old and 18-month-old little girls told me that her husband was just involved in a big drug bust and is now in jail. She just moved here from Chicago so her welfare hasn't transferred yet. She doesn't even know her way around the city and is feeling lost. She asked me for some food and for a ride home because she didn't want to walk with her little girls all the way to her house. I ended up putting together a big bag of food for Brandy and her young family and asked Renee to bring them home. I am so grateful to have such an incredibly supportive Team that enables me to help these families in the best way possible. Brandy's story is just one example of the dire need of our guests.
Yesterday I was blessed with another day off! I was able to get to the gym as well as relax around the house. Kathy, our outside contact, brought us out for a night on the city! We went to dinner then to a choir concert that her husband was in. It was wonderful to do something "normal" for a little while!
I'm feeling a little re-energized but cannot wait to go on retreat in a couple weeks! Keep my community in your prayers as we plow through the "tunnel months" (appropriately named by Michael). Thank you all for your support!