Teenagers, children, babies and adults. My heart aches for them all. The sweetness of these people and the pain they have been through. Surviving and trying to thrive. Such difficult circumstance. Poverty, stress, racism just to name three.
We closed the shelter today. It was happy and sad. I didn't anticipate completely the way this would touch my heart. The way each client would climb in and take hold. The faces of them all etched in my memory. Today I helped to put wrist bands on our residents- almost 200 of them that were left. We didn't realize there were still that many. To make sure everyone was on a bus and that we had enough busses we had them line up with their families and get a wristband. My helper and I wrote the names of each one and made sure everyone had a wristband on. There was something about this process that really touched me. Literally and figuratively. I put a wristband on each and every person leaving the shelter - my fingers on their skin. Human to human. Young and old. Yet again this experience reminding me that these people have gone through so much. They are completely deserving of happiness and were completely undeserving of having this terrible situation happen to them. We are all one. This could have as easily been me or anyone else in this situation. And also reminding me how many factors - poverty above all - have kept them in these shelters. Painful to think of.
This day also had it's stressful times (how many busses?!?) but they seem trivial in comparison to the goodbyes. Aside from the clients I will miss the Shreveport Police and the National Guard. Had more conversations with them as the days went on and it was nice to see them more as people not just enforcers. People willing to give up things like their time and to help like we are. Kind people who go out of their way. So much of this was so powerful and amazing.