Monday, October 22, 2012

When Helping Seems Impossible


So, here's where I hit the wall. It happens every time and I'm actually surprised that it took 22 days. I feel like I'm up running on the wheel. I'm repeating myself. I might sound like I have answers when really I'm just fumbling around in the dark with a megaphone.

These new parts of my life are equal parts fulfilling and exasperating. All of those things I said are true. They were true today from the hours of 10-1. There's no where I would have rather been, but I left drained of words, emptied out, desperate for solutions that might work.

The person I used to be thought poverty was black and white. Get a job. Work harder. Buck the heck up already. What I thought was a straight line is actually a midnight corn maze with trap doors and really high stakes.

What do you say to the girl with no high school diploma, no driver's license, two felony convictions, four young children, no home, no skills, no tangible support? Do you tell her to go get a job? Do you really say it's that simple?

It's hard sometimes not to secretly give up just a little. I'm tempted to pretend to help, believing all the while that "help" doesn't live here. I'm tempted to set the bar really low. Maybe even kick it down and let it fall to the floor. Maybe then - maybe - we can say we found a shard of success.

But the real truth is, she was made for more than this. I'm not sure how to help her get there, but I can stay close until things start to make sense.

I don't know how to do this. The books help, but at the end of the day, they're not there with us in the van.

This system was set up to fail. It was never meant to fix anything. It doesn't know how to care. You and I? We were created to care. Maybe that's all we need to aim for.

Tonight, I'm full of questions, but I'm all right. This is every thing I am, this is my life. The stuff I've yammered about for 22 days straight never leaves my thoughts. It presses down and pushes me around. But it's not the only thing or even the main thing. There's so much more. My house is a happy mess. There's a painted tea-box-turned-ocean-liner drying on the counter. My eyelids have been seized by overzealous, misguided wrinkle cream. We're flipping between the debate and the Cardinals when what I really want is Mad Men. I'm tired and scattered. I'm thanking the high heavens that the kids went to bed tonight with minimal grievances.

Sammy Kershaw has topped my play list for the past few days and I think he just might hold part of the secret, the way he croons so smooth about the hard parts of life. I'm inspired to do the same, minus all the whiskey and bar-burning.

So, tomorrow they're calling for morning thunderstorms and afternoon sun. What could be better than that? I hope wherever you are, you get a little bit of both, too. Grab your rain boots and your shades. Let's rock this mixed-up world.