Sunday, October 13, 2013

A different type of community...

"I live under a stairwell, in a parking garage".  That's the answer I received when asking a woman where she lives.

My girlfriend, who's a hairdresser, volunteers at a drop-in for the home-less and hungry at a church in Toronto, and this week I was her assistant.   In the short time we were there, she gave 9 people a new haircut and we received 9 different stories.

This was my first experience in speaking and meeting people who utilize a "soup kitchen" and they all seem to come from various walks of life.

One fellow told us he spent 30 years in IT for a very reputable company before retiring.  A senior lady explained that her apartment is being converted into a Condominium and she would have to move out after having lived there for 25 years.  Her options, due to high rent in the neighborhood, might have to be a basement apartment.

I was touched by their stories but more so their attitudes.  None of them whined or complained.  They were very appreciative and thankful for their haircuts and conversations. 

The woman living in a stairwell was funny and witty.  The fact that she lives in a stairwell and sometimes sleeps outdoors in a park, didn't seem to bother her.  She figured, she'll get a place soon.
 Upon seeing a stack of books on a table, she asked me if I thought they were there to borrow, and perhaps she could take one and bring it back the following week, as she figured she could finish the book in a day or two.

The room was filled with people, some sitting by themselves, others in groups of 3 or 4 at each table.  Someone was playing soft music on the piano.

 I could sense that this is their community; their world.  Different from mine but still similar. 

I walked away feeling that they helped me more than I helped them.

The joy of giving is a simple pleasure.

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