Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Have I been faithful?

The luxury of time to move and sort, pitch and remember has been a gift. A gift of solitude and gratitude.

After a rambunctious and unusual Artsy Fartsy session Saturday, I am taking down the big stuff, shifting packed boxes into moving positions, no matter where that happens to be in the room, and very much aware that the room is disappearing. I didn't want the kids to witness this piece. I'd packed most of m personal possessions and things tucked and squirreled away, leaving the objects that have come to define my studio and to which the children have responded: the meditation tent, theater seats, art tables and Ikea stools, my desk, posters and their art on the walls, streams of colorful fabric draped from the ceiling and the full bulletin boards.

Our memory flag created for leaving Milford Main
Today, however, the gloves are off and my mission is to smartly pack, move and store. I am relentless in pitching and recycling and may become more obsessive as I get everything into a box and see how much there truly is. I am already figuring a two-person system of getting my large garbage bags into the dumpster: having one outside on the ground below a second-story window and the other tossing down the bag, which should land only a few feet from the trash bin. The recyclable I may have to transport somewhere else.

I've been darting back and forth, packing this and that, adding to unfilled boxes with similar items. Before desiring a break to blog, I carefully folded 15 man-sized striped and plaid shirts the kids have used for paint smocks. It was almost like putting away my daughter's baby clothes. I could picture the kids in these enormous shirts and unrolled several sets of sleeves.

As I was rolling up posters, I opened what I thought to be an empty mailing tube. Tucked inside was a poster of two children holding hands and the caption: Companionship: those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.

It opened some emotions as I drifted back to 14 years ago and the wonderful Neighbor-to-Neighbor group I organized. That was a three-year stint just as Artsy Fartsy has been. And the Neighbor-to-Neirghbor still meets! All of the touching and personal thank-you notes on the back became an echo of what I needed to hear about Artsy Fartsy ... the words I don't actually hear from families, but know they carry:
"You're a jewel and an inspiration.
Thank you for all you do.
God bless your caring spirit,
Thank you for your energy and compassion.
Thank you for following your heart and getting us all together.
Thank you for your hard work and inspiration.
A big heartfelt thank you for initiating and following through with Neighbor to Neighbor."

Saturday was tough. After reminder post cards, phone calls and volunteer drivers, only three kids were out and about waiting. I knocked on many unanswered doors and was told kids had other plans. We eventually ended up with 9. We've had as many as 17 at once. I really wanted them to be here to say goodbye. That was my projection.

One dad asked if I'd stop by and pick up a pizza for his wife. "No, David," I replied not very graciously. "After I drop your boys off at the school, I need to head up to Oakbrook for kids, run back and run the program." Little Caesar's is a five minute walk for him.

During our session, I pretended not to hear one of the girls say she and her friend needed a ride that night. She aimed it at me.

I was feeling under appreciated until I ran across the poster and those words that helped me see they are as appropriate now as then. Thank you, Spirit!

• How do I handle times of transition?
• Can I find reflective moments within those times?
• Can I find Spirit in the bittersweet space?
• When has Spirit provided something I desperately needed?
• How did I express my gratitude?

just because I
have spent time

I expected the
kids to want
that as well

to recognize that
this special
thing we've
been a part of
was changing

but, they're
just kids
in their
and to

God sent
me a special
years ago

yet in the
hearts of
those I serve

helping replace
my question of
"Have I been
successful" with
"Have I been

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