"Once we choose hope, everything is possible." - Christopher Reeve
I find myself thinking about them this afternoon as I clean up the gardens on this unseasonably warm February afternoon. This task that I do every Spring that makes my back ache and my hands dirty as I pull the weeds that have crept into my flower bed like the unwanted house guest who spreads her things all over your living room.
They don’t have a garden.
So much of who I am is wrapped up in this house. We’ve been here nearly five years and we’ve slowly begun to make it ours. Claim it, so to speak, from the former owner who left their handprints pressed into the driveway as if to say they would always be here.
They don’t have a driveway.
I drag myself to Trader Joes to get food for the boys who are wasting away to nothing. They haven’t eaten in at least 2 hours and they are starving, they say. Isn’t there anything to eat in this place? Putting away the groceries I put out cheese and crackers to tide them over until I can put together dinner. “What’s for supper?” they ask me and then, “Can’t we have hamburgers instead?”
They don’t have a choice.
Last week in writing group we wrote about boxes. It was Valentines Day and the idea of a box that held something very special came up during meditation. “It holds a treasure,” I said to them. “A treasure that is all yours.” What do you see?
“As I sit on my bed looking into my box…I see… not a homeless man or an alcohol or drug user, nor do I see a vision of my past criminal behavior. No, I see this very large drawing board with carefully drawn out blueprints of buildings of great importance. I see drawings of beautiful homes with perfectly designed gardens, my drawings, and I know my grandmother would be so proud of me…. My box allows me to see this, to see a man who walks with his head held high, a man whose character is as strong as his belief in God.” - W. D.
“...I am happy for where I am right now. I’m blessed with the gift of starting life over again after ten years of self destruction. When I go to work I have to get dressed up, a white button down shirt and tie, black pants, cleanly shaven, hair cut and showered. I makes me feel on top of the world. The greetings I get now from passers by who smile and say hello gives me such great joy…” - K. M.
I sat in silence as they read, my eyes filling with tears. I could not imagine a greater gift of love. They are my box, these nameless, faceless men who live in this place they cannot call home.