Thursday, March 22, 2018

She said 'I don't want feelings any more’.

So many young people who dip their needy toes into a YMCA  Hostel are at the bottom of the social pile. 
They arrive at a YMCA, 
often with all their lives 
in a plastic carrier bag ………….

They are welcomed at their point of need. 
A cup of tea is the first item on the agenda. 

They are NOT to be oppressed. 
They are NOT to be preached at - 
those empty bellies are there to be filled. 
Their ears to receive valuing comments, 
Affirmation blessings, authentic love. 
The environment needs to be right to facilitate 
the acorn reaching it’s potential
everyone an Oak Tree …………. an acorn BECOMING.

A part of that journey is the experience of 'belonging’, 
A sense of 'security', the experience of 'self esteem’, 
cognitive and aesthetic needs. 
All these, according to Maslow and his famous hierarchical model, 
culminate in self actualisation.  
That is what we aim for, 
the height of spiritual/ wholistic/fully human person state.  

So the YMCA aims for the highest, 
and as all us leaders know too well, 
it is the great journey and destination we ourselves desire to achieve. 

Martin Luther King did NOT say "I have a budget.” 

Martin Luther King did say 
"I have a dream.”
I have a vision! 
I have a mission! 
We in the YMCA are about that same mission. 

Let me tell you about Mary Lou. 

Mary Lou said, 
'I don't want feelings any more’. 

She was a resident in our Homeless Hostel community. 
We used to talk regularly over a meal. 
Having a large dining room for evening meals and breakfast was something special - 
it is the one place which brings people together in the some sort of Community. 
'Bed-sit’ Hostels, self catering, don't have the same chance 
to cultivate a whole range of contact 
and support from eye contact/hello grins, 
to real Level 5 communication.

Mary Lou was riddled with feelings and beautiful with them.  
An open book. 
She was great at being in contact with her own feelings, 
which is great compared with the many who bury them deep 
and so turning into ulcers or worse! 
She was hopeless at managing those feelings. 
That's the big issue with feelings - having them, 
owning them and managing them without us being controlled by them.

Mary Lou knew she had problems, owned them. 
She never told me intimate details of her complex relationships - 
but did share the feelings. 
Sometimes she stepped out of the hostel lift 
with a face like a can of worms.

Tormented, yet not wanting to talk sometimes, 
but, often in the crowded noisy hostel dining room, 
we shared feelings together and the possibility of her building repertoire of skills 
to 'own them' and 'manage them’. 
We all need tools in our ‘Life Toolbox’. 
She left the hostel and I've never seen her since. 
I just trust that the climate of trust in our community released her, 
facilitated her in her salvation, which is an ongoing liberation experience.

Mary Lou - I'm not going to launch into a poem. 
I will say 
'A caterpillar looks nothing like a butterfly, but one develops from the other'.

Mary Lou - you left your feelings finger prints on my soul.