Friday, January 8, 2010

The Wrecking Ball of Life

Now is as good of time as any to transform "Camper's RVue" to its new bent--a more personal/societal reflection. Today contains a dark cloud that needs to be shared.

Having worked for 25 years in human services, with perhaps the most in need of help populations, homeless adults and children, I'm no stranger to suffering, mostly of others, though I've had my share of "stuff." Today, a Friday, the day most emergency service workers will tell you is a magnet for disasters, especially right before closing, shift-change, etc., proved true to its reputation.

A woman I've been trying to contact for a few weeks called me back finally, and I settled into what passes for an easy chair in Tillie, ready to catch up. But her first sentences crashed down like a huge wrecking ball, not on my life, but on my image of what I thought her life was. Trust me, without hearing the gory details that I can't share, she has far exceeded the standard of "if anything could go wrong it did." And she doesn't deserve it, nor does her ever-so-fragile family that's swirling around in crises now.

I could only share this with the one person we have in common, and I was grateful for at least that gift of a knowledgeable, compassionate listen. But when I hung up, the cloud returned.

This Crises, deserving of more than just a capital "C," is not unlike what happens to other families. And this family has
endured and survived a lot, though what they're going through now probably equals the sum of their history, a heavy dose concentrated in 3 months. It's more than I'd ever imagine being able to endure or survive, much less come out on top.

But that's what troubles me--this family HAS TO come out on top or they lose everything they've worked so hard to accomplish. And I'm not talking about a nice house, lots of cars, jewelry. I'm talking about the basics of life--a home they call their own, albeit a single-wide somewhat ramshackle trailer, a reliable car with lots owed on it, school loans and a few outstanding bills for stuff they really needed.

What most people don't realize is that the theoretical safety net--the one we imagine would be there if we had lots of bad stuff happen--it's not there. Sorry. It's gone, leaving in its wake the trail of bodies on the streets, in homeless and/or dire straits. And perhaps that's the worst part of this for me....

It's like watching someone drowning, with sharks patiently waiting nearby, with the entire family falling overboard.

I believe in a higher power, though I haven't settled on the design that makes most sense to me. Right now, I'd look for a knight on shining armor, charging in on a powerful white steed, to undo all the tragedies that swirl around this sweet family. But I guess I don't get to pick my form of divine intervention, and I suspect I have no control of the outcome.

My fervent hope--that the incredible mettle that has kept this family moving forward will be tested and found true. In my wildest imagination, I don't know how they'll do that. But that's where the unknown
indomitable goodness comes in, the Grace that somehow keeps at least most of creation on the right track.

And I need to sort out my role in this. Why am I in the path of this wrecking ball, being splattered by debris? I certainly can't change the wrecking ball's trajectory, but perhaps I can extend a hand, maybe even gently guide my friends in a less perilous path. Or at least let them know I care. And I do.

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