The Vera House Clothsline project is a week long artwork of sorts being presented at Destiny Mall. I volunteered to help only after it was apparent they were desperate for workers to man the information table, take donations etc. As it always seems, I later kick myself for committing to these things and after the day I had, I was NOT interested in "giving" much back to anyone. HOWEVER, some rainstorms have a rainbow, and I am GRATEFUL to have found one at the end of this grueling day.
Before I speak to that and the benefits I had by participating in this shift, let me first explain the clothsline project. Afterall that was what I was there for.
The clothsline project from what I was told originated in Canada to give a voice to victims of sexual trauma. Vera House has been hosting it's own clothsline for several years now and has incorporated not just sexual abuse, but domestic violence as well. The premis is to air the dirty laundry. Each and every shirt, and I was informed that these are not nearly all of them, has been made by a victim or a family member of a victim. TOO MANY!!!! The shirts/artwork is hung on a clothsline and displayed to the public to help generate awareness. Here are some of the pieces.
I had prepared to spend the next four hours doing nothing. I brought my homework and some more things to do while I sat patiently for people to approach and ask about the demonstration. I was in for a surprise. Both ladies I was paired up with for the duration were TALKERS and we chatted so much I forgot all about the fact that I was JUST sitting! Homework was NEVER removed from my bag.
For the first shift I was assigned with Ginger. She is an educator and works with children in the local school district. She has presented to the girls at the residence I used to run a few year ago, and my son has mentioned her as she has presented to his school twice. At first she didn't remember me, but when I informed her of our paths crossing, she recalled and we spent the next hour talking about everything and anything. 2nd shift was Lauren. I had never met her prior, but after a few minutes of getting to know one another, we could have been friends for years. We enjoyed taking about family, jobs, kids crazy things in the world, diets, work at SBH, and potential for new employment at Vera House. (which I am not ready to explore right now). But what I was interested in was being a part of the addictions/CD task force committee. She invited me to be a participant and I jumped on the opportiunity. Okay...so I don't know exacatally what I got myself into, but it is not like a paid position that I have to attend to and it is only one a month on a Tuesday morning. (more for presentations etc.) So I think I can handle this. The thing about it that got me so pumped is the opportunity to teach. The committee offers education to the community as well as professionals on chemical dependency. Which I have been leaning towards doing, I just didn't know how to start. Anyways. I had just a great time. Along with chatter, we were able to hear a testimony from a survior who had come along and donated $5- towards the cause. She informed us of her story and how Vera House had helped her and her two young daughters escape her abusive husband. Her injuries from his abuse continue to emotionally and physically haunt her to this day. She described how she has seizues as a result of his beatings and cried as she shared her story. It was indeed a reminder of the fortune and blessings we have in our own lives. The clothsline project a success and possibly two new friends made, I packed up my bag books still intack and smiled a big smile at the abundance of graitude for the life I live, the people I love and the opportunities before me. I am looking at lifes gifts this morning and feeling blessed. I do not pray or speak to God as often as I should but I am sending a shout out to him this morning for the life paths he has presented to me as I am truly blessed.