At Laundry Love Santa Ana on Thursday, there was a woman who said some disparaging things about “the people who started this thing.” Being one of “those people” I took this a bit personal. I was a little angry and a little hurt that someone would question my motives or accuse me of being unfair. Intellectually, I understand that she was not entirely well and that she has a reputation for starting fights for fun, but I still could hear what she was saying (;
Five things happened within 24 hours that made me realize I should not let that situation impact me the way it did…
- One guy from Civic Center told me a bit of his story, especially as it relates to violence directed towards those experiencing homelessness. He is a veteran and just got approved for his pension after over a year living on the streets. He smiled from ear to ear as he described the tiny studio apartment he was moving into the first of the month. He also told me that it was things like Laundry Love Santa Ana, that made the awful things bearable.
- Another friend who is homeless shared (to nearly everyone multiple times, he was so excited) that he was into his third month of being clean. Such a huge accomplishment and such an amazing opportunity to walk with him through this difficult time.
- A brand new volunteer told me that anytime there is something good happening, there will be opposition to it. So I guess that means we are on the right track!
- A volunteer asked me for relationship advice. This may seem out of place here, but from early on, the thing that I have been most excited about Laundry Love Santa Ana is the intersection point it has become. A community of so many different people from so many different backgrounds. And as communities grow, people start reaching out to each other. The fact that this guy felt he could talk to me about his relationship, when we met through Laundry Love, means that something real is happening at the laundromat.
- I went for a late night diaper run to CVS by my house about two miles from the laundromat. There was a guy out front asking for money. I didn’t have any cash on me, but asked if he minded change. Had some coins in my car. After giving him like 40 cents in pennies I told him about Laundry Love Santa Ana. His face lit up. He and his wife appeared to live in their car. He showed me his trunk with was VERY full of dirty clothes. He gave me a firm handshake and thanked me. Not sure he even remembered the change at that point, the thought of someone helping him with laundry was just overwhelming.
I am a slow learner, I am stubborn and I have a short attention span, so learning a lesson takes some clear butt whooping, which evidently I got. Ever have something slammed in your face so blatantly?