I have been working seven days a week for more than a month and a half. Monday through Friday it's 10-12 hour days. Saturday and Sunday I can usually get away with 4 or so. It's at the point where people are questioning my sanity. But the truth is, I have a job and this won't last forever. Soon enough things will slow down and I will get a day off a week and possibly even go home after 9 hours on the weekdays.
Today was a 12 hour day, but it was one of the ones I wouldn't give back. Yes, it was stressful and yes, it was a day without a workout. (There have been a lot of those lately.) But among the things I did today was a visit to Unity Place, the building we are renovating with Hearts for Homes. It was a joy, even through tired eyes, to see the physical place that our work is creating for the women of the YWCA to find safe harbor as they grow into independent, powerful women of Des Moines.
Each apartment is simple, but compared to the rooms they have been staying in at the Y, it's very nice. Each apartment has two bedrooms - with good sized closets, two bathrooms and a shared kitchen and living room space. Downstairs there is a common area where the women can watch TV or socialize. On occasion, some of the non-profits working with them will hold classes there.
For the women with children, there are slightly bigger apartments and a safe grassy area for the kids to play outside. It warmed me greatly on this snowy Iowa day to think of kids getting to play somewhere other than in a gym or on concrete as they have downtown.
Unity Place is right on the bus line. It's near schools. It's in a residential neighborhood. It is a another step toward a normal, responsible life, just like the rest of us. It is the very meaning of "a hand up, not a hand out".
I've talked a lot lately about gratitude and this project makes me all the more grateful. I may not be a size ten these days, but I have an abundance of other skills that allow me to make a difference. And no perfect fitting pair of jeans in the world will make you feel as great as helping someone in need into a new home.
Yours in health,