Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Messy Week

Some weeks just hit you up the side of the head and there's little you can do to but get through them.
Last week was one of those, complicated by a resurgence of the fruit fly population, a menopausal discombobulation, and learning how to get out of a strangle hold.
We lurched from the plague of moths to becoming the sex capital of the world for fruit flies. Every fruit fly trap device or trick we tried just had the fruit flies sitting there, sipping on a fruit fly martini equivalent and laughing at us. At one point, as we ate our dinner by candle light because it is dark so early in the evening as a result of it being WINTER, we were bombed by more than 20 passing fruit flies. There is nothing like interrupting a serious discussion of family matters to try and slaughter a laughing fruit fly. There is also nothing so pleasant as waking up in the morning and the first act of the day is to squash to death a few bugs. Not the best pick me up.
Out came the vacuum and we dubbed it the machine gun. We have been sucking those buggers up at a rate of 20 an onslaught. A week later and we are down to about 8 killings every attack. I murder bugs about 6 times a day. Not a very good practice by me of the peaceful Quaker testimony.
I don't need to go into the menopausal discombobulations. Let's just say that the fetal position on any flat surface was difficult to not give in to.
On Thursday night last I went to a Non-Violent Crisis Intervention Workshop. For three hours we figured out intellectually what might trigger a physical attack and what the opposite emotion we would like to encourage might be.
In the last 45 minutes we took turns attacking each other and learning how to break things like strangle holds, hair pulling, and weapon attacks. Let me say that it is very disturbing to have to pretend to hurt someone else and in turn, to be attacked.
Why did I do this? I have volunteered at the "Out of the Cold Emergency Shelter"


here in Halifax at St. Mathew's Church down on Barrington St. This is a promotional photo. The morning after looks more like this.

I have done two shifts at the shelter so far, with another tomorrow morning. This shelter is for those people who don't feel safe at other shelters, who have been asked to leave other shelters, who have absolutely no where else to spend the night of in the freezing cold. I have learned so many things about the homeless my head is bursting. I thought dealing with those who were under some sort of alcohol or drug influence would be hard but no, it is the youth. It is very difficult to sit beside a young man who is my son's age and listen to how his life spiraled out of control. I expect I'll have more to say on this in the future. I've only done two shifts so I am over stimulated about it all and have only begun to glimpse my ignorance.
It takes over 120 people to run this volunteer organization and that gives me a huge spiritual uplift. Most of the volunteers are young adults and more impressively, most of those participating at the workshop had never done any shelter work before.

That's a huge output of compassion! I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate more deeply in my community.

(all images from Google)

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