In the past month, there has been this religious group of college age boys and girls volunteering around the Guadalupe House. They stay in one of the houses with a Jesuit Priest - Fred. They ended their activities last week and they told me they began "debriefing". Debriefing? What in the world is that? I was told they gather with other groups, talk and prepare to re-introduce themselves back to the world. Detach - And they do for a week!
A week? Really?
I was perplexed. When I saw them, I would ask how the "debriefing" was going. Curious and basically perplexed. Sheesh...you need a week for that?
This morning, this group arranged going away a breakfast at the Guadalupe House and invited me to join. They left today and it was their way saying goodbye and thank you. They sang a song, gave speeches on how wonderful who this and that is and gave out hugs.
And then I understood. I then knew.... what this debriefing was.
These were no ordinary college kids. They paid their own way. They came from all over the country. Broke off into groups of half dozen or so and went off to do "good deeds" around the Tacoma area. This group ended up at the Guadalupe House.
I first encountered this young group of kids at the Tuesday evening meal the Guadalupe house cooks for the homeless. I saw them and didn't say a word. Most likely, just another group of young people I see. They, do a little this and that and basically sight seeing and taking tour. But nope.
I saw them again the next Tuesday at the homeless meal.
And the next.
Encountered them on a non-Tuesday when somehow I manage to get into the Guadalupe House for a evening meal.
Ok, these kids don't seem to be running off. Very odd. Very weird.
In the sweltering sun, on one of the hottest weeks of the year, these young kids shoveled dirt and built 30x25 feet brick patio. For 4 days, they sweated without complaint. Disappointed when they were not able to accomplish the project due to lack of time.
They were so friendly. Eager say hello and speak to us (the homeless). And I got to sneak a few more extra times into the Guadalupe House for their evening meals.
Their Chinese/Vietnamese leader - trying to be a good person of the world
A freckled Alaskan girl - Beautiful being - in and out
The 2 boys/Men - The warm greetings and relentless attitude to finish a grueling physical task.
A one legged Asian girl - The singing and hello's. (The thing about people that enthusistically say hello and ask you to come over...it makes people feel like their presence is needed. Its a good feeling. The basic weak hello's don't do the trick)
A blonde nursing student - The quiet one of the bunch. But just as powerful with her subtle approach to "Good Deeding"
So when they left this morning.........it hit me hard. It is back to the Van. It is back to the samo grind each day. Avoiding people. Sometimes acting angry to keep the crazies off. - A realization you don't know when the next time you can have a genuine connection with someone. Someone who accepts you are homeless and its ok.
So I wonder if their "debriefing" is the reverse of mine.
For a couple weeks, I had friends. Last week I went to a meetup with a bunch of web coders. http://www.meetup.com/seaphp/events/223918305/ And again the same insulting treatment. A life time on the street has heightened my sense of perception. The way they talk, the way they look at you. I look homeless and they gave the best effort not to show they knew I was homeless but I saw it in their eyes. 2 people there were involved with companies in the Tacoma area specializing in web development. Their whole business is helping build website with PHP. Both showed no interest in; knowing about my project, looking at it and of course helping. I politely sat there quiet for 45 minutes and excused myself and left.
Anger, sadness, a sense you are sub-human - all rolled into one.
But this time it was different, for this time, I had a friend(s). I walked straight to the College kids house behind the Guadalupe House. Caught their leader and a couple of them outside. Got it all off my chest and felt good.
Its amazing how a friendly face makes the world better.
But that is not reality. That is Not my reality.
My reality is a cellphone that never rings.
My reality is spending all day stealing electricity for my phone
- Lining up at the mission or Church for food
-There is no one to trust but myself.
- Surrounded by criminals and drug addicts, I swim their world with an angry appearance.
My reality is no real friends and loneliness.
With these college kids...I now understand "debriefing". It was nice having a friend. But now, it is to detach. I suppose the feeling is similar to watching a family member fly away after they visit you.
One of the homeless, A black man, had gotten to know the tall blonde college girl. I saw him walking by Mcdonalds yesterday. It is back to straying the streets. He at this moment is wandering. Walking. Around. Alleys, sidewalks.
NOw, there are tons of people that talk to the homeless. There are groups of high school kids that come through. I meet church groups that feed me almost on a daily basis......So what makes this group different?
The difference is they have decided to engage us with Love......not Pity.
There is a difference. A big one.
A really big one. For I can get plenty of pity. It is plentiful. And I don't want it.
So......I don't know what the kids debriefing is. I suppose it is the opposite. It is the realization the world is not filled with crazy homeless, drug addicts and the mentally ill. The real world is actually a good place. A world where caring for family, and working is the norm of importance. And that should be the real world. I would like that world.
I don't know what they did for "Debriefing" but now I understand why.
BTW - I purposely did not want to proof read. What grammatical mistakes is there, so be it.
BTW #2. They left this morning. I just now walke into the library. There is a function for whatever crazy reason...they held it next to the bathroom. hahahaha
But it is now reality. If I were to go up there and grab a snack, there would be 2 possible reactions.
Oh its some homeless guy. Lets just grumpily silently let him take a little.
or its...Hey, sorry these are only for guests. Please go away. (at a public event in a library)
With the college kids, I could take food from them without feeling of shame or a feeling of burden. Like you do to friends.
But it reality. And reality is - I am different and should be treated as such.