“What must be endured, can be endured.”
Ever think about that saying? I think of survivors of POW, going through unspeakable pain, not knowing how long they will be able to take it. That is the worst thing I can think of. Lately, however, I have had the opportunity to share my home with people who have gone through their personal POW experience. Not knowing when it will end, they survived and, though traumatized severely, are still moving forward. I guess we all have times of being tested without knowing the end date.
This is life.
I was very nervous to bring people, that I haven’t given birth to, into my home/family/life. I mean, I have my own struggles, and I want to make sure my home is safe. I don’t know them very well, and even, would they steal from me? Plus… I like my own space and am getting used to being, almost, an empty nest-er. Lots of logical reasons to give some comfort, a few meals, some games, a room for a night or two, and then off they go.
I judged because I needed to.
Then, they opened their hearts to me. Scarred, scared, and hesitant, they shared a bit about their story. A little at a time, while cooking dinner, or sitting in the morning after their smoke out back, they would feel safe. I would listen and ask what I hoped were gentle questions, and inside I would recoil at their pain and strength. I would ache for them. I would bite back tears.
I saw that, in each case, a safe place to land for a bit was new to them. Completely foreign, actually. They would watch silently as, at dinner time, our family would eat in ease, laughing and occasionally poking fun at each other. They would barely eat. We would include them in our conversation, a bit, but it would be hard, and awkward. We all did the best we knew how.
Despite my best efforts, we have become involved. Invested.
There are groundrules, of course. A respect for each member of this household that includes personal space, cooking and cleaning and contributing, and making a plan to become independent. Some plans take longer than others. And, I am learning from them. We are learning from them. As trust starts to take place, so do smiles and laughter. Games happen. Opening up happens.
Our family expands.
“What must be endured, can be endured” stops being my dramatic motto in this situation, and “Love at home” becomes the norm. It isn’t a simple situation. Not … traditional, but then what is? FAMILY is…a choice. I see strength where I first encountered scars. I see hard workers and resourcefullness where there seemed to be desperation and hopelessness. I see… them.