As I begin my quest into the world of adulthood, I find myself retreating more than I anticipated. I've been looking forward to the freedom of owning my own car, of having a job and making more than $75 a month (which would be a change from that past 2 nay, 6 years), of not having any type of community obligations of prayer, dinner, fun and meetings. Over the past couple of weeks, however, our community has become less of a community and more resembles what my future holds; 3 people living in a house together and only really interacting when absolutely necessary or by chance. The consideration level in our house has dropped significantly and our attention to each other's needs seems to have fallen by the wayside.
Because we could all tell this was affecting the livelihood of our community negatively, we decided to have a house meeting about it. Oddly enough, we all recognized the need for a re-establishment and re-commitment of our "covenants" that were signed on opening retreat. The three of us unanimously decided to re-embark on our quest and journey towards community even though we have a mere 7 weeks left together. I'm hopeful that we all may leave this year with positive memories and feelings towards intentional community rather than I think we would've left off had things remained the way they were.
This got me to thinking that although I don't expect for Emily (my future housemate and housemate from last year) and I to have any sort of community obligations, I'm going to thoroughly miss community dinners, fun and prayers. Though we talked about it, Emily and I realistically acknowledge the busy-ness we'll be faced with starting as soon as we move back in. But a creeping sense of nostalgia for my time and community life while in FVM has already permeated and I haven't even left yet! I'm thinking that's not a good sign.
This onslaught of adulthood and futuristic thinking stems from the interview I had earlier this week with Liberty Lutheran Services. The interview went well but I'm not sure that, if offered, I'd take the job. My role would be to provide supportive services to families and children that have been either directly or indirectly affected by sexual abuse within the household. What happens here in Philly is that if there is a claim made against someone, DHS (Department of Human Services) takes the initial steps to alleviate the situation until further investigation is carried out and legal action is settled. Throughout that whole process, Lutheran goes in to investigate and provide support for those who made the claim and for the rest of the family that is dealing with the ordeal.
It's a heavy job, for sure. And it's not that I don't think I can handle it, it's that I'm not entirely sure that I want to. For the most part, I am eager to jump in and get my hands dirty. I'm more than excited to start work. But for this population, so much of my emotional energy would be required that I'm thinking it may be a difficult transition into real life if I'm constantly dealing with the strain of this job. We'll see how things go and no job has been offered yet, but I'm hopeful for some other opportunities God has put before me!
I had an interesting conversation with a guest yesterday regarding his life on the streets and his addiction to alcohol. For awhile, Danny was known as "Drunk Danny" (though it's not a very good descriptor because many of our guests are both named Danny and are drunks but if someone said "Drunk Danny" we'd all instantly know who was in reference). Danny would come into the office with a can of beer up his sleeve and, because he was so drunk, would spill the entire can all over the floor (and this happened on more than one occasion). He constantly had a black eye or a busted lip because he was constantly attacked because he was so drunk he couldn't defend himself or get away. But Danny's most recent attempt at sobriety has given us all hope for not only his recovery but for other who struggle as well. He has 3 weeks sober and never misses a chance to tell us so. He comes to mass daily and recently asked me my name saying, "Now that I'm sober, I'll remember it" ...and he has.
In my conversation with him yesterday he told me how when he was in his early twenties, he was accused of burglary and, when in court, plead guilty because he seriously couldn't remember if he committed the crime or not. Danny sat in jail for 3 years before he found out that it wasn't him who did it but another man that resembled him. Three years of his life were thrown away for something he didn't do!!!
This whole addiction thing kills me. So many people think it's a choice but I choose to believe (thanks to the help of my mom) that there's no way it is a choice because if it were, that would mean that people choose to hurt the ones they love and I have too much faith in people to believe that. I believe there's got to be more to it than a decision to pick up a bottle or a needle or a crackpipe because the effects it has on people are never, ever good. Ever.
And I think talking with Danny this week and since he became sober has given me hope for all those who are addicts and all those who have been affected by addiction. It's a disease that invades, conquers and destroys people, families, and societies but if just one person can do it (and Danny of all people), then we can all hope for the rest.
So anyway, things have been really good down in the City of Brotherly Love! We're looking forward to the next few weeks, which will bring visits from family and friends along with a trip to New York City with Brother Fred! I'll do my best to keep updated (which, I must say, I've been doing a pretty darn good job of lately), but no promises!
Take care and lots of love!