Words fail me.
I’ve tried to write an intro to this post 17 times. Yes, 17; I actually counted. I tried and tried, but all the words I stitch together fall so short of anything that would resemble how I actually feel right now about my internship site and what I’ve already learned.
Grateful? Yes, I am overwhelmingly grateful. I can’t imagine any other place that would be this perfect for me to learn in and to fail in, which is a beautiful combination of how this group of people (the community members, my supervisor, the staff, and my fellow interns) are loving me into being, loving me into a deeper realization of who I am and what I have offer this world.
Yes, words fail me.
Most of my time at internship is spent in the common area, sitting with members, and listening to whatever they feel like sharing. Sometimes we drink coffee, sometimes we laugh, and other times there is awkward silence. Sometimes they tell me about their physical aches and pains, sometimes I hear about how things used to be, and still other times there is more awkward silence. Sometimes I have to apologize because I forgot their name; only once have I been asked to help finish a bowl of strawberries (my most hated fruit), and then there was the time a member sang me a song and it was lovely.
What can I offer? Some people have traveled so far down the path of addiction that there is no one in their life who will (or can) give them a smile. Most of them have been, or currently are, homeless, which means they can go an entire day without someone speaking to them. To some of our members, a simple ‘hello’ is therapy. When I heard a staff member tell another volunteer this exact thing, that therapy for some members is a simple ‘hello’ and a meeting of the eyes, I thought, “yes. That, I can do.” Even on my shittiest of shitty days, this is an achievable goal.
I may not be ready for one-on-one therapy in an office setting with clients and charts and whatnots, but I will surely meet their eyes and I will say hello.