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Chris Salomons - Red Deer Advocate

As the kitchen coordinator at Potter's Hands, I am witness to plenty of strange, weird, funny, tragic, and wonderful happenings. But the greatest part of this work is the people that I meet. In this blog, I will introduce you to the people and things I observe, experience, and deal with as well as some of our plans for the future.

A glimpse of a heart

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“Can I hang out here this morning?” The question came from a pretty young lady and she went on to explain why. “I got kicked out of the other place, but I really don’t want to walk the street all day; I’ll do anything you need.”

I knew she had been expelled, and I also knew the reason why, so I never said too much, I just handed her a spray bottle and a clean cloth. “You can wipe tables and empty the garbage, but I can’t let you just hang.” She gave me a brief hug and then proceeded to wipe the tables.

As the morning progressed, so did our conversation. I often use times like this to find out what makes people tick; why they make the decisions they do, and how they feel about the choices they have made. I don’t always listen to the words as much as the tone or inflection they use when speaking.

It was no different with “Julie”. I would ask questions that would give me a sense of her way of thinking, but she was just as artful in avoiding letting me find it out. During the day, she drifted in and out saying certain things that gave me at least a little glimpse of her mind, but she was extra careful not to let me see her heart.

She left for a short while and went to Street Ties across from us, and when she came back she gave me a big hug and asked if there was anything more she could do. Short of cleaning (a constant battle) there was not a lot to do at that time, so she just leaned on the counter watching Daniel and me work at final preparations for the meal we were about to serve. Some mention was made about Christmas coming up at which point Julie proceeded to find a piece of paper and pen and write the following which gave me a glimpse of how she really feels however small it might have been. She wrote:

The holidays bring joy and sadness to

many people around the world but the

main thing is to be happy you are alive

and loved so keep your chin up and enjoy

the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone.

Like I said, it’s not much as far as personal expression goes, but it tells me a lot about her own feeling about Christmas and her own need to be loved, something which I believe she has experienced in the past. But now because of choices they make, Julie and others like her have turned their backs on that part of their lives so they can lead the kind of life they now experience on the street.

Would that I could wave a magic wand and have it all disappear. Well I don’t have a magic wand, but I do cling to a hope that when the opportunity presents itself, I can share with them. In the mean time, all I can do is show them that I and those that surround me really do care, and then maybe someday they will of their own volition seek out that same hope.

That’s how I see it.

Chris

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