Pastor’s Corner: May 2019

Now, where did I put that book?  I was sure I put it in the green briefcase so I’d be sure to have it when I got to People’s.  Argh! It’s in the other briefcase next to the chair out in Union. Or at least, I think it is? 

Where’s my green capris? I was sure I packed them in one of the totes of coming with me.  They must be in one of the totes in the garage – unless I took a tote over to the storage unit. Or maybe it ended up at Mom & Dad’s?  I don’t know.  

First not knowing where my parents and I would be staying this July to being gifted a place where we could all stay. Then my parents are finally accepted into Senior subsidized housing so our living arrangements change. So does my energy and focus. Packing and unpacking, moving totes from room to room – house to garage to storage to house to garage. 

This summer not only is my stuff all over the place but I’m all over the place.  My physical stuff, my emotional stuff, even my brain feels like it’s all over the place.  I’m a reasonably stable, self-sufficient, functioning adult. I also have a deep sense of hope, joy and gratitude and all of you – a support network I can call upon and count on! I don’t know how I would have survived the summer if it wasn’t for all of you!  

I’m sharing this not because I’m seeking your sympathy. I’m share this because my summer “Couch Surfing” brought to mind a conversation I had with one of the social workers at The Landing Place on Park St. in Rockland. It’s a place for Rockland-area homeless and shelter-insecure teens to “Land.” A safe, supportive place to rest and re-group, to connect and make healthy connections. A place to grab something to eat and maybe some sleep. A place to examine what of their life is stuffed inside the backpack they carried in with them – and if it’s not there where did they leave it? And if it’s at home, do they take a chance and go back home…

Sure, some of these teens have had a hand in creating their situation. However, you’d be surprised at the number of teens in the Rockland area who are distancing themselves from all kinds of chaos and disfunction at home.     

It’s summer now but the school year begins in four short weeks. Imagine trying to focus on school work and fitting in -which we all recall that’s what Junior High/Middle School is really all about- while wondering whose couch you can sleep on and will they include you at their table.  Leaving for school early and staying out as late as possible just to be out of the chaos and the crazy they find at home.

I’m so ready for my two weeks of vacation: To swim and to reconnect with my kids and grandkids, To slow down and refocus and reclaim the parts of my life that have been scattered and packed in totes somewhere. And I know… my parents and my responsibilities will still be there when I return, as will my hope and my joy and my gratitude and my coping mechanisms and all of you.

As the school year approaches, what thoughts are going through the minds of these homeless/shelter-insecure teens? Where has there resilience come from? Who have they connected with to see them into this next school year?  Who has shone them hope? Where is their joy? What are they grateful for?

Take it from me, Couch Surfing does not relieve any of the stress and anxiety of where you’re going to stay. 

It just keeps you out of the elements while you try to figure out where you’ll stay next.

The Mid Coast of Maine has a real housing crisis for all ages. More needs to be done. 

God bless the visionaries and the people who make The Landing Place, Out Maine, Hospitality House, and Habitat for Humanity possible. Lives are being changed. Lives are being saved.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Chellie

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