For the second night in a row, I fell asleep before I had a chance to write yesterday’s post, and I am hoping to not make it three nights in a row. I do not like when I miss a day of writing, but my regret is lessened when I miss it for a good reason. Last night, I had a good reason indeed.
On Wednesday morning, I was awakened by the sound of the tornado sirens blaring, and yesterday morning, I was awakened by the automated phone call from my daughters’ school announcing that school had been canceled. There was only about an inch of snow on the ground, but the wind chill factor was well below zero and would remain there for most of the day. While school may have been canceled, work and other obligations were not, so, I bundled up and made my way through the day and evening.
When inclement weather moves into the area, my thoughts always turn to the men who are homeless and who seek help and hope at the day shelter where I work. This week’s weather was particularly brutal for the men, as we had several inches of rain and strong winds to begin the week and snow and dangerously low temperatures to end the week. So, I knew when I went to work yesterday that I needed to be present and positive more than ever.
After missing work last week because my older and I were both ill, I was busy catching up on administrative tasks and addressing supervision issues this week. While I enjoy these duties, they also tend to keep me in my office, instead of being out in the day shelter among the men, so, I missed catching up with them for most of the week. Yesterday, though, I made a point of making myself more available for the things that they crave most. In addition to affordable housing and employment, the men desire the same things most of us do-a genuine connection with another person who cares. I cannot give them money, housing, or employment, but I can give them a warm smile, listen to their stories and concerns, share a laugh and a joke with them, help them with small tasks and gathering resources, and a host of other seemingly small deeds that are not necessarily part of my job description, but that are ways I can still help them. Sometimes, I don’t always know if these gestures and actions really matter, but when one of the guys came up to me and said, “Hi, Miss Kristi, I just wanted to come see you, because I needed one of your great smiles today”, I was reminded that even the smallest and simplest acts of kindness can mean the most to someone.
After a long week, combined with the frigid temperatures, all I felt like doing last night was hibernating, but I had plans to have dinner with some of my high school friends. I contemplated cancelling my plans, but I knew that if I went, I would not regret it. There is something about getting a group of friends together who have known each other so long that leaves me feeling happy, understood, accepted, and loved, and that is very much-needed and appreciated. Even though I would have been content being home alone on a cold night, I was happy to be surrounded by people who add to, not take away from, my life. Thank you, friends!
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day