Last night was my support group night. I have the privilege of facilitating a weekly women's support group at a homeless shelter. I have been doing this on behalf of my agency since February, 2008. I am there in a professional capacity to impart my learned therapeutic methods that hopefully will be of some help to these women. Get it? I am there to help THEM.
So why do I almost always leave the shelter feeling better and inspired to go out into the world and do my best work? This is not supposed to be the way it goes. The group is for THEIR benefit, not mine.
Maybe it's not what I am doing wrong, it's what they are doing right. Here's a sampling of what I keep seeing:
1. Women who are mortified at the idea of coming to a shelter but do so for the sake of their children. They eat humble pie in order to feed their children.
2. Women who have been hurt by others in ways so horrifying, and still they willingly share with others their hope for the future.
3. Women without a home or transportation or employment speak of ways they want to help others.
4. Women living their faith.
5. Women speaking of all they are grateful for: life, their children, faith, the shelter ...
6. Women who persevere. They believe opportunity is around the corner. If not today, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, the next day.
I could go on. Each of these women has a story that could inspire even the hardest of hearts. The truth is, I shouldn't get paid for facilitating this group, I should be paying them. (Just don't tell my agency).