I volunteered to work on "Black Friday" for a few reasons:
1. We needed someone from the Lanc. staff to be in the office.
2. My brother is coming home for Christmas, so I would rather take my vacation days then.
3. There was very little shopping that I wanted to do on Friday (and to my surprise CVS was open on Thanksgiving, so it was a quick yet amazing trip on Friday morning).
I had mixed feelings about working alone all day, but the day was well-worth it and I will tell you a"little thing" that made all the differnce:
~ I met with a participant of our program in the morning. A little background: This woman is in her 30's and has two small children. She just left a very abusive marriage over the summer and is now trying to piece her life back together in a way that will leave her on two feet. Unfortunately, I can feel comfortable posting this because this scene is so common and you will not get many more details than that. Anyway, as we were meeting we talked about all kinds of things like work, school, childcare, finding furniture, and getting her into a new apartment. We have found housing for her (thank you, Jesus) and she will be moving in very soon.
Now, please note that she has never lived on her own before. She went from her parent's home to her husband's home. There has been a controlling man in her life from the start. She is now looking at a very different home environment, one in which she is to control. I could write for hours on that subject, but I won't...today.
The appointment went well. But my heart dropped at her last comment as she was walking out the front door. She said, "Emily (thoughtful pause)...when I move into the apartment, will I be able to decorate the walls?" This caught me off guard and I told her that it will be a good idea to check with the landlord about what he would want her to use/not use, but that generally she should be able to hang some pictures or other things if she uses the right fixture for the wall.
A curious, shy smile lit up her face and she continued, "At our house (with her husband) we had cream color walls. My husband would never let me hang anything or put any kind of decoration up. I don't know why, but he was funny about that. I would love to hang my kid's pictures on the wall."
I could see her mind reeling with the idea that she will have the freedom to decorate her new apartment however she would like. Oh, how sad that conversation was.
I walked away from that, loving the fact that God has placed me in a position to help these women find a path of their own. One that is safer and hopefully more secure. I was also saddened, realizing how common that scenario probably is, and heart broken that we live in a world where that is ok with some people.