You see I’ve been friends with Rhonda for a long time. We used to (in our old lives) have play dates at each other’s houses where we took turns bringing coffee and coconut timbits and chatted about mom stuff while our little girls played dress up and cooked pretend meals.
Then Redwood Park Communities happened. Things changed. Big things.
Rhonda was busy doing important stuff, and if I wanted to spend time with her, I had to meet her where she was. For a while, that meant pulling staples and cutting insulation at the “broken house”. Then it meant trips to Ikea to outfit the apartments. Later it became a different kind of mom chat in the living room at United House. Sometimes it was a stretch for me, and I felt out of my element, but I followed my friend. I’m so grateful I did.
My calling found me one morning in that living room. A new friend came in—someone who didn’t even live at the house—and over coffee she spilled out her horrific story of abuse. I listened, helpless. The bottom fell out of my heart.
I had always respected what Rhonda did. I had always been sure that I couldn’t do it. That visit made me more sure than ever.
But then Rhonda spoke with me after, and told me she wanted me to be more involved. She told me that watching me listen had shown her that I was able to help. I’ve been listening ever since. Simply listening.
You don’t have to be an expert to help people. You don’t have to be some super-gifted superwoman. You just have to be willing and open and available. Your calling will find you.
Erin Hatton is a mom of 4, fiction author, and family support worker at Redwood Park Communities.