You fight the good fight to maintain balance and make sure the darkness doesn’t have a chance to take over.
I knew on Monday that by the time Saturday came, I would have to write about the incredible week that I have had. It started with me agreeing to join the Girl Scouts as a troop leader. They just couldn’t get any parents recruited to run a troop at Heritage, but the girls there really wanted and needed one. My mother saw my facebook post about it and immediately called and asked me what the hell was I thinking. She knows that I have the tendency to stretch myself too thin, and she was right. I was either crying or ready to cry most of the time. I was starting to lose track of all the projects I had taken on, and it felt like I was drowning and no one was going to help. The city wasn’t going to get any better because of my efforts. Then some other things, or really other people, happened.
Monday is also the day I met Russ Thomas, the new director at Family Promise. His love and passion for helping the homeless, the addicted, the forgotten, seems to know no bounds. The amazing work his team is doing and how they are growing the organization to include transitional housing was just down right inspiring. Russ decided that after our ride to look at the new housing he also wanted to show me something else. He gave me a mini-tour of places people use hide and do drugs, be homeless, or prostitute. It broke my heart, but also gave me hope that people like Russ were out there. Passing no judgement, seeing the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings (even when they didn’t see it themselves), and doing all that could to meet them where they were at and get them to where they needed to be. It was powerful stuff.
The week went on and so did the phone calls about drug dealers using other’s property to do their business, a gas station that is a hub for human trafficking, absentee landlords letting a neighborhood be terrorized by the roaches and other vermin coming off of a vacant property (if you don’t count all the trash), citizens being harassed by teens, elders being abused by neighbors, and some homeless using downtown as a public toilet.
What I wasn’t ready for was Russ Thomas and the others in Lima just like him. Pastor Wayne Bradley of I Can Ministries doing his best to transform both buildings and people and truly welcoming ALL people into his church, especially the ones the rest of us run from. My support group co-leader and mentor Lisa Bradley providing guidance to and advocacy for the kids in our group, the kids in Lima City Schools, and me. The YWCA opening an office on High Street and making themselves available to families and teachers with materials you can borrow, equipment you can use and referrals for services you may need. The awesome ladies at WOCAP working hard to make sure the city has safe, affordable housing, and that fair housing happens in Lima. The members of the Central Lima Neighborhood Association continuously taking on efforts to clean the city even though they all work fulltime and have their own children. Jessie Roark working overtime to make LACNIP even more than a community garden program and bring neighborhoods together. And that’s just some of the people I talked to or worked with this week.
But, remember, this all started with me stressing out over how I was going to lead a Girl Scout troop along with everything else. I hadn’t even told my husband that it was quite literally causing me to have panic attacks. The answer was Leslie Rigali, Jennifer Robertson, Christina Luster and Denise James. They all stepped up to help with the Scouts. These ladies and all the others reminded me that I am silly if I think I’m doing any of this on my own. I am not the Lone Ranger, nor do I need to be.
What I was shown this week was a variety of issues this city is dealing with. I was also introduced to so many of the angels trying to save it. I hate it when people don’t recognize how cool this city is or insist there is more bad than good. My older son was depressed once about all the negative in the world. He asked why even keep trying if it is impossible to fix everything. I told him that you don’t fight the good fight to win. Evil will always find a way to happen. You fight the good fight to maintain balance and make sure the darkness doesn’t have a chance to take over.
If you haven’t already, open your eyes and your hearts. Close your mouths and stop complaining. Stop sitting on your hands and go use them to fight the Good Fight.