Sometimes, when you walk into a volunteer project, whether it be a polluted creek, flooded house, or barren piece of land, you think:
“I can’t fix this. I can’t. It’s too much.”
“It’s not my responsibility.”
“My apartment is a disaster, I should be cleaning that.”
“I have work this afternoon, tons of it.”
“I can’t do anything to make this better.”
Then you must get calm and Zen, because this is where you physically are, and if you’re not going to try to make it better in that moment who will?
I had to get Zen the Sunday morning I worked with Alexandria House, because the apartment I was helping restore was… for lack of a better word – gross.
Alexandria House is a much needed transitional home for single women and single women with children. To create more space they were renting some recently vacated apartments from the nearby Catholic church.
The apartment in question had belonged to a retired nun. The nun had trashed the place, during… a dirty bender? Or many years of smoking and poverty. I’m guessing the latter.
And that is always my game changer… thinking how hard it would be for a single mother to ask for help. How much help you would need to get back on your feet, with children in tow. Tackling a grimy room seems small in comparison.
I focused on the kitchen. I’m comfortable in the kitchen, and being in one usually makes me happy. However, removing year old stains from the fridge was not happy (see pic at top). I started to not like the smoking nun. I liked her less when I was wiping soot from the walls. Yoga breath. Peace. Go with God smoking nun.
At the end of the morning the home was in decent condition. It would not be an sparkling oasis, but it would be a haven for a mom in her kids.
My reward for a mornings work – the requisite donut, and a tour of the Edwardian/Victorian headquarters of the Alexandria House, which was next to the apartment. Many families live in the headquarters.
I hearted the tour much. I LOVE VICTORIAN HOMES. Love the individual craftsmanship, the Dr. Suess like architectural details (like multiple staircases), and proper basements.
That’s one of the many fantastic things about the variety of volunteer projects I’ve done – sometimes I stumble across something I love and remember why again.