Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looking Back

Occasionally, I look back on my life to see where I've been and how it got me here. Recently I've found myself thinking back to the events of July 25, 2010. It was the day I moved out of my apartment and set in motion everything that would bring me where I am now. That day I wrote an entry in this blog and called it Home Sweet Home. At that time I had no idea what I was getting myself into and, although I rarely admitted it, I knew it. I did know that what I was doing was important. That if I didn't do it I'd regret it for a very long time. I didn't know if I'd like it. Now I know that at the same time I love it and hate it. I love what I'm doing. I love the adventure. I love that what I've decided to do with my life means something. I love that people care about what I'm doing. I love so many things about this path I've chosen. But I don't like being homeless. I don't like that some people find themselves living this way, often by no fault of their own. What bothers me most is that there are families all over America living in cars or shelters, because of a poor economy. Not because of drug abuse. Not because of alcohol. Not because of mental disability. But because the economy of the United States of America is in a rough patch.

I have an acquaintance here in Portland, Oregon that I met about a week ago. He's about my age and homeless. He moved here from the Midwest just a few months ago, worked and lived in an apartment. About three weeks ago he lost his job. Two weeks ago he lost his apartment and suddenly was standing in line at soup kitchens trying to get something to eat. He's working through his troubles and trying to find a way to stand on his own two feet. He's applied and interviewed for a few jobs, and got himself into the Blanchet House in downtown Portland.

They have a program where they give you a bed in one of their bedrooms. You share a room with one or two people, so it's relatively private. Once in their program, you're given a few days probational period to make sure you will fit well with the other people there and that you're serious about becoming self-sufficient. Their program lasts four months. For the first two months you are paying your dues to the Blanchet House. You help serve meals and clean up around the building. You are then given the next two months to find a job and a place to live. That's how he explained it to me.

I think that's an amazing program, and kudos to him for working his way back up where he belongs. People like that are why I do what I do. They are the fuel that keeps me going when it's cold and raining and I haven't seen the sun in weeks and can't remember what it looks like.

If Sean Donner on July 25th knew what things Sean Donner on November 17th would experience and know, he would have been so happy to be making the decisions he made that lead him here today. He also would have known to save just a little more money so he would be able to make it to sunnier places a little faster. That's mostly a joke because, where I am now isn't that bad, and this is all part of the process.

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