May 18 was an exciting day for me. My son was finally able to resume his physical therapy sessions that had been suspended for several weeks during the Safer at Home initiative. When he first started outpatient therapy in February, I had been able to sit in the waiting room until time to take him home, but because COVID 19 prevention measures are now required, I have to leave the building after completing any required paperwork. I was told that if I remained on the premises, I could spend the two hours that he is in therapy in the uncovered courtyard or in my car. Since I knew that most surrounding businesses were not open to the public, I opted to wait at home, where I have HVAC, 2 bathrooms, hot and cold running water, and a full refrigerator. The only negative is that I have to make an extra trip to the hospital in my air-conditioned car. Poor me, right?
While considering this minor inconvenience, I realized that our women—who already have more burdens than we could imagine—are now subject to these additional restrictions that make their daily lives even more difficult. Facilities that had once been open to them are now closed, and they have none of the comfortable options that I have. Their options for something as simple as washing their hands are greatly reduced, at a time when handwashing is being emphasized as the first line of defense against infectious diseases. It hardly seems possible, but our women are living with even less privacy than they had when we first began to meet with them on Summer Avenue. And as if all of this weren’t enough, the civil unrest that has erupted in the past week adds even more complications, with curfews and increased police presence.
But what can we do? It won’t help for us to sit in our well-equipped homes and hope our women will find a way to manage these additional difficulties. The assistance that Sandra is currently providing in the form of food and supplies is a start, but it by no means addresses our women’s complex set of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Having a drop-in center will provide so many more opportunities to assist the women in an organized manner with food, water, counseling, and community. Even if we are unable to congregate for a few weeks, we will have a permanent location for the handwashing station that A Lee Dog Story has donated to us. We will also be able to store food and make it available more often. Our volunteers will have a safe space in which to work, and our women will have one place on this sad earth that they will know they are always welcome. It will be their north star, something to count on as they have been able to count on Sandra during these past few dreadful weeks.
Whether we have a physical location or not, we are a community, the Lisieux Community, and love lives here. When we are able to realize the vision of the drop-in center that we’ve described in previous blog entries, we will need to have a sign over the door that says exactly that. Love, with no strings attached. Love that wants only the best for each other. Love that turns strangers into friends and friends into family.
We are the Lisieux Community, and love lives here.