Leaving this house is closure on so many levels. And since today’s theme is love, I am focusing on the gift this house gave me. This rickety old house with grimy cigerette stained walls, 4 by 8 wood panel floors painted with cheap brown paint, cracks in the walls where spiders hide and deteriorating plaster that has been long outdated. Many who lived here, came because of their utter desire to find a new way to live. I honor the women who (is this who or whom) died in this house trying to make it to another way of life. I acknowledge the 100’s of women slept in these beds, worked, cried, hid and discovered themselves. I acknowledge the women who smoked crack, fucked and fought themselves in this house. That is how I came here. I was seeking a new life, an escape from the wreckage of my past and willing to do anything to recover, to learn a new way of life and thinking. This house, regardless of its contents or its administrators, gifted us with a platform for new possibilities, one day at a time.
I fought to preserve this house. I wanted to make it better. I knew I wouldn’t be here forever, but like always, I desired to leave it better than I arrived. I envisioned a restored facade of spiritual inspiration. An environment where women would be inspired, encouraged to hold on. I dreamt of instituting a new approach, a program model, to effectively address the needs of women-as-mothers in recovery. I never did the mosaic outside. I didn’t paint inspirational words at the foot of each step that foreshadows our phases of growth. I didn’t paint its walls with vibrating color schemes that instigate creativity. I threw away the books, notes, and program ideas.
But I realize, today, that superficial love I wanted to offer doesn’t matter. What matters is the spirit of this house! An amazing structure to house all the energies that came through here! Imagine all of the emotions it carries from suffering women. Imagine the fights and fits of destruction. Imagine the laughter and joy of women learning to see themselves for the first time. The victories, though! Like maintaining a minimum wage job for over 6 months. Many victories, because all we were trying to get, was another day clean. All of this, housed within these walls. Without the love, any other structure would have collapsed. This is a big house.
This house knows the secrets of women. It has fought to restore us. This house held us together. I can’t help but to feel like I failed. But that doesn’t mean I have to deny what was gifted to us. And the amazing grace of learning how to get another day. Perhaps I did not fail a continuum. Perhaps it simply was not my purpose or role. Perhaps this house, gave me another gift, doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself, it let go. It let me go.
My purpose, sometimes, doesn’t align with my intentions. A valuable lesson, a loving gift.