November 1, 2015
Volunteering: I didn’t think I was making a difference
When I volunteered at the homeless shelter in Minneapolis, I often became overwhelmed.
There was so much need and so much pain, and I was only one person. I’m sure I sounded
like a broken record, telling my friend Jen that it was too draining on me and I didn’t think I
could do it anymore. Every night we saw the same people and it seemed like very few of
them wanted to escape homelessness.
She was the voice of reason, reminding me that I was focused on me when I should be
focused on them. At times the feeling that I couldn’t make a real difference was so
debilitating that I wanted to turn away from volunteering all together. Maybe focus instead
on something I could control.
I see now that it was a defining moment for me.
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October 23, 2015
A visit from grief on an ordinary day
It’s an ordinary day—don’t most days start out that way? I browse the jeans rack
wondering how it’s possible that my little boy has grown so quickly—4T, maybe even
boys’ size 4 or size 5.
It’s Toddler Thursday—that blessed day when all kids’ clothes are half price. I intend to
load up the cart and my son will be set for the long winter ahead.
I hear the bells above the door jingle. Someone has entered. My spine tingles.
I pluck a pair of jeans off the rack. Oooh, perfect. This pair has those stretchy little elastic
tabs for sizing. My son’s pants are always too big around his little waist. I drape them
over the cart handle.
I move along and my fingers linger briefly on a pair of jeans with pink fringe decorating
the bottoms. Girls’ clothes are always so much cuter than boys. And in that instant, I feel
him come up behind me.
Not today. I have so many things to do. Please go away.
I continue on to the next rack, my body feeling too heavy to hold up.
Remember Toddler Thursday?
I press my eyes closed. He’s here. Of course I remember. I’ll always remember.
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