February 09, 2021
Sometimes, when I'm sweeping and mopping the same floor for the umpteenth time, I lose sight of what I'm really doing here and why. Then a tenant comes along and puts perspective on my sore back and bored arms. His name is Dale.
Dale, (not really his name), is one of our clients that represents so many. He has what we call issues: anger, trust, paranoia, keeping himself out of trouble. These issues have troubled Dale since he was ten.
From that time, Dale has often been medicated, in and out of institutions, foster homes, even jail, then he came to us. Dale now has his own apartment and lives daily dealing with the issues life has given him.
What Dale has reminded me, however, is that we all crave validation. We all want friendship, We want to matter and in living in a building that houses others, I daily see Dale step up and help others. He greets me daily with outstretched hands, and in this time of covid, an awkward socially distanced hug. He is so often my strength when I need muscle to move furniture or clean out an apartment. He scatters the calcium chloride on the steps when no staff or NCCH employee is around. He does all of this usually with no reward beyond my gratitude.
In truth, he humbles me. Dale approaches the world with an almost childlike openness and desire to belong. This is wonderful, but leaves him vulnerable and easy to hurt. Though he still battles his issues and probably, like all of us, always will, he puts himself out there, trying to be helpful, trying to be a friend, trying to be relevant.
I realize housing someone is just a start, but it is a huge one. Providing that person a stable, safe and clean home and the ability to live, to thrive, to feel relevant in the bigger world, that is what a stable home provides. Seeing Dale find his place, his self-worth in that home reminds me of our mission and why we do what we do.
NCCH Maintenance Team