let's see--when i walk to work, i compose these great compositions in my head (trust me, they are witty and touching and funny!) and then when i find the time during the day to type some things on the computer, i can't seem to put the words back together in quite the same compelling way.
here's a try--yesterday, i went to visit a woman name lisa. on my run monday morning, her common law stopped me and told me: lisa's in the hospital; she thinks she was pregnant and lost the baby. well, sadly, my first thought was, AGAIN!?!?! because this woman has 9 children already!! my next thought was, ooooh--is it for you? (meaning, was the baby duran's) because they have been 'separated' for a while now. and last, finally, i came to: how is she--when will she be out--when should i come visit?
i went to go visit yesterday. she's fine. she was, in fact, pregnant and had a very early miscarriage. she seemed incredibly nonchalant about it--maybe having 9 other kids does that to you, or maybe knowing there is absolutely no way you can feed and clothe another child does that to you----or maybe she just didn't want to share with me the agony she was actually in---who knows.
after questioning why three of her five children that were home were not in school (today i had to go to the school and deal with all that stuff), she asked me about her sister. hand in hand is going to build for her sister and we've been pushing it back and back with groups that have canceled their trips and other folks that have come up. i told her that this last house we built was for a man with no home. she replied, extremely seriously, 'poor him'. i know i'm going to have trouble conveying this, but that was the most touching thing she could have said. this woman just lost a pregnancy, has 9 children who she can't consistently feed and clothe, lives in a house that is falling apart itself, struggles every single minute of every day, and yet she musters enough compassion to respond to me respectfully. her sister's baby had to go to the hospital because the house (ha, house) that that family lives in is so rotten that it leaks and is infested and the baby got horribly ill. and still, STILL, she doesn't respond with anger or frustration that we haven't yet made good on our word, but with understanding, because she, too, has been both in a situation like that and knows that you can, in fact, survive in terrible conditions and also has been a recipient of a HHM house and knows it takes time.
part of me still expects what i was used to in the states--if i had agreed to build a client a house and kept pushing her back and back while her baby got ill and went to the hospital, i likely would have been yelled at, cursed, and insulted, which are all understandable responses when dealing with a situation like hers. instead, what i often find here is understanding. most people i deal with have been there, will be there again, have friends and family who are still there, and know what it's like.
i am so thankful for lisa and my other clients (even though they never sends their kids to school and don't follow through with all the things we've talked about) because just by being themselves, they teach me things. they don't need an education or a resume----in fact, if they had those things, i wouldn't learn a lot of what i do from them. thanks lisa, andrea, emilio, vincent, tiffany, loretta, and others.
oh, and thanks to You too God! You're the one behind this all!