Over the past few weeks we’ve taken you through several rooms of our anticipated drop-in center, all of which have met some practical purpose to serve a very basic need (meals, showers, laundry). The Living Room is our next stop, and it will also meet a need and serve a purpose, though not one that everyone might see as practical at first. But we would contend that having a safe, private place where we can continue to build community among the women and volunteers is imminently practical to their spirits. A living room is intended to be a place to deepen our connections with family and friends. Secluded from the view of the hostile world and safe from the tyranny of bad weather, our women can take some time to relax and get to know each other better.
We do our best to build community when we visit with the women on Thursday nights, but if you’ve read any of our accounts of those visits, you know that there is a fair amount of chaos and absolutely no privacy. It is therefore difficult for them to let down their guard. Although—and perhaps because—they are eminently vulnerable, they try very hard to appear tough, which sometimes creates additional problems for them.
Granted, four walls, a sofa, and some chairs will not solve all of our women’s problems, but having such a home-like setting even for a few hours a week will give a welcome air of normality to their lives. As busy as we all are, the living room is still for most people a place of fellowship. Think of the times that you’ve gathered around a coffee table to play a game, watch a movie, or just talk about how your day went. Those shared moments of kinship give you strength and help prepare you to deal with the stresses of life.
You can see, then, how providing a place where our women can have those kinds of moments will help them develop healthy friendships built on solid foundations and mutual trust, with no strings attached. Such friendships will prepare the women for the hard work of meeting with counselors to face their trauma and begin to heal. When they are able to be vulnerable to those who will lovingly support them through the healing process, they will become less vulnerable to those whose only desire is to exploit them. That in itself makes the drop-in center living room a very practical place indeed.
Now we ask again: How can you help us make this vision a reality?
Will you pray with us that the God who created us in his image and said that it was not good for us to be alone, would provide a place where our women can develop true friendships that will support them in the long and difficult process of healing from trauma?
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