Litkicks Message Board Archive

thanks guys for some nice kudo's but

Posted to Poetry and Politics




believe me, i'm no panacea to the problems faced here. as dorothy day wrote, in order for things to really change the whole rotten system would have to come down. but, like her, i also believe in The Little Way as expounded by St. Therese of Liseaux. in my case, that translates into just helping the person in front of me - and if we all did that when we could, then perhaps all those trickles of kindness would evolve into a stream, and change would come...

but, also believe, me, there's no romance in this work. little did i know when we founded our shelter, how much time i'd spend with the police (who after a short period of hesitation, now believe, i feel, that we are performing mutually beneficial work -- the other day when i was on a cell phone with a police captain who was at a river site investigating a drowning, i said, "pretty grim work we both do, eh Capt? - and i think in his response, i found mutual understanding...). and little did i know i'd be spending time with folks capable of very serious criminal activity - or those who would even steal from our shelter while we were seeking to help them. it sobers you up. but it doesn't make you stop.

i don't believe it's all up to government to help, but i do believe they have a role - something our local 'no new taxers' refuse to take as any of their responsibility. i don't want our church council to replace government, i want, as we are effectively proving is possible, to work with them as partners.

yep, no rehab here in our county for the poor. there are a few beds about 20 miles north, which supposedly our county pays for our access, and there are some beds about 50 miles west, and then again about 100 miles west of that. but nothing here - nimby is too strong, nor is there any political will in this heavy Republican stronghold. gee, there's not even the will for any new local taxes to pay for much-needed roads or schools, something even they use, let alone for the invisible poor which have no apparent impact on their lives )though who's taxes is it that maintains the jail?). a Post reporter once told me he could draw a circle around our county, and the one north of it, and show all of the detox facilities around us, but none within our borders, due, again, to that nimby factor.

when we've succeeded into getting a person into one of those far-away detox/rehab facilities, it's usually somehow in alliance with the probation office, in sort of a diversionary move since our one jail is so grossly overcrowded. i drove one of our homeless alcholics to the police station the other night to turn himself in on petty misdemeanor charges so he could detox inside, and clear his record, so i could send him on a bus to another state where his mom lives. But rather than keep him inside so he could accomplish that, due to the overcrowding, they released him and put him on another year's probation, just the thing guaranteed to keep him drinking and in trouble, rather than resolving any of his issues. it's frustrating but you gotta take it all with a grain of salt and trudge onwards...

this guy, like your Bear, is a good guy - very sincere about wanting to quit drinking, as he says, 'so his kids wouldn't be ashamed of him anymore,' but unable to, chained so to the addiction. that was one of my points to tfire. we have good guys and we have not-so-good guys as our guests. the trick to it, as you'll read in Dorothy Day, is to be able to serve both of them, knowing that the blessings are garnered mostly on our side -- for without both types to serve, we wouldn't have anyone to help at all - and we must do it because it feeds a reason within us - our need, even though we don't fully understand it most of the time, or at all. this is a two-way street, a bargain between mutual needs.

i think that cab driver is a most respectable occupation. indeed, we have one of our ladies who graduated from living in her car, to cabbie, to living in a Route 1 motel. but, hey, she's sheltered! what's sad for me is that psych wards and jails often offer better shelter than we can - and if one of our folks moves from a tent in the woods to jail for a while, he or she is likely better off in the short run. but therein lies the rub - with a country as prosperous as ours, should jail ever be a better alternative than anything? i would hope not... but, sadly, that's the reality here.

anyhow, thanks again guys. hey, tfire on the right, me on the left, a bunch in the middle, and we'll achieve that cosmic balance in the long run...