And life goes on

It’s a clear, cold (for Phoenix, that is) wintery January day. Blue sky with scattered clouds, breezy, a strong afternoon sunlight. All is toasty warm here in the house. My desk has a scattered look of papers waiting to be filed, an empty CD box, business cards, a yellow note pad all of which calls for me to put some semblance to the disarray. I sort of like it like this. It’s messiness doesn’t aggravate me yet.

The chaos of the world,on the other hand, gnaws at my well-being. The Doomsday clock has just been moved closer to midnight, thanks to the man in the White House. Threats and counter-threats are hurled at each other on social media. One person, I noted today, posted that she’s cleaning up her site and is going to scale back her involvement on Facebook. I don’t blame her. It’s a very toxic enviornment there these days. I’m tempted to do likewise. I suspect that I’ve been unfriended by some. I know I’ve unfriended many. But, even though I run I know I cannot hide. I don’t watch the news on tv. I pay passing attention to the newspaper when stories feature the administration’s latest antics. But, I am curious. How do I keep informed without being sucked into the whirlpool of vitriol and anger?

Maybe that’s too much to ask for. If I am a member of this society, for better and for worse,  than I have to know the whole story — the uplifting tales of minorities overcoming challenges and the shocking redundant tales of rich white men putting the screws to the less fortunate.

When I drive down to St. Joseph the Worker, especially on a morning like today that was bitter cold (again for Phoenix) the abject poverty and misery is played out when I turn the corner at 9th Avenue and Jackson. Grocery carts piled high with belongs, make-shift lean-tos along the chain link fences, people wandering haphazardly around the street littered with trash and pigeons. It looks like some sort of zombie apocalypse.  I have the same sinking dread when I used to go into the Orange County jails when I was doing HIV case management there.  My guard would go up and I had to keep reminding myself: in a couple of hours, you get to leave. But it is there, the Human Services campus that is littered with the homeless of Phoenix,  that I forget all the sturm and drang that lives beyond those city blocks. There is a microcosm of society, ex-felons, substance users, mentally ill, who are all living for the moment even if it’s just to cadge a cigarette, to find a comfy warm spot, or to wait for lunch. For most, that’s as good as it gets.

There seemed to be a world-weariness among the staff today. I haven’t heard the bell rung since I’ve been at St. Joseph the Worker. Patrick, Raeanne and Joe were not in the office. Everyone else seemed a bit distracted. Is bad news coming? I haven’t heard back from LSS or Central Office. What’s up with that?

Where I am is where I am meant to be. I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, money in the bank. I cobbled a plan to be where I am today based on decisions made in the past which I blindly impetuously made. The decision to move back here to Phoenix and to this house — I believe that was a divine inspiration given the state of my health then. I’ve always used the analogy of using stepping stones to cross a stream but only seeing the stones when you’re right on top of them. And the progress is far from linear.

Yes indeed, God writes straight with crooked lines.


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