The Hotel Project, Day 5

4

September 29, 2020, Dallas-

The young mother pushed her son’s stroller up to where I was standing, and matter-of-factly asked me to hold her clean laundry, when it comes back tomorrow, as she was headed to her hometown, to tend to a family emergency. She will return on Thursday or Friday.

We are approaching the midpoint in this effort, and yes, people are moving out of the hotel and on towards salvaging their possessions, their livelihoods and their lives. It will be a rocky process for most, and as one gentleman reminded us, this afternoon, we volunteers, as hard as we are working now, will soon head back to lives of relative comfort. Those hit by three successive storms will, in many cases, have no such respite.

This team is far more comprised of multiple generations, than the Strike Team with whom I worked in Alexandria. I find it most gratifying. Half of the team here is comprised of Millennials, giving the lie to arguments that the younger generations have no cache in solving the problems of society. The ideas and observations of our younger teammates equal their energy, in value.

We shall overcome-and so shall the victims of the storms.

Facing Negative Energy

7

January 9, 2019-

The young boy reacted to a task that was beyond his scope of understanding,  in the only way he knew:  He threw a fit of self-harm and flailing rage.  Two women were able to guide him through the anger and calm him down, without any appreciable damage to himself or anyone else.  He spent the rest of the day in peace, and participated in afternoon activities.

The past forty-eight hours have seen a fair amount of negativity, in situations far and near:

A dear friend has seen the person closest to her have to be brought to hospital, in a life-threatening emergency.  My prayers, and those of dozens of others, have gone up, that he may survive the night and recover.  The spouse, or significant other, of a friend is as dear to my heart as the friend.

There was, yesterday, what turned out to be a minor hiccup, in my son’s and daughter-in-law’s planned ceremony to sanctify their civil wedding vows. We maintained patience and the right thing happened-hiccup cured.  Ceremony will proceed as planned, in two months’ time.

I had planned, with a group of co-workers and their friends/family, to conduct a clean-up of one of the National Park properties that is not far from here.  This morning, an alert, banning the public from said property during the current shutdown, was hastily posted on the park’s website.  While  I can see any number of concerns that would bring such a response to the offers of a clean-up, (Ours was not the only such offer.), the shutdown as a whole is extremely negative and counterproductive.  Our group could clean up any of the National Forest sites in this area, though the U.S. Forest Service is fully operational.  We could, as one person elsewhere told me, focus on local neighbourhoods and not worry about Federal land.   These two scenarios can, and should, be a regular part of civic life-above and beyond the present impasse. (More on “local vs. global”, in another post.)  Our point, though, in THIS situation, is that the National Park System is suffering, mightily, from  ongoing neglect during the present shutdown.  It needs its citizens to step up, more than ever.

Negative energy is always around, and as darkness is dispelled by light, it can be countered and neutralized by a stronger positive energy.  Fighting fire with fire, or mud with more mud, is a short-term strategy, which usually results in the perpetuation of the very iniquity that one seeks to remove.  I have found that either maintaining a stronger stance of love, in the face of hate, or cutting off the flow of negativity altogether, has brought the darkness to naught.