Seems as though every time I see her, the light is hanging low in the sky and just about ready to head behind the 3 story tall, peaked roof lines in my neighborhood. Tonight I was enjoying a late dinner on my front porch while my dogs relaxed in the last sun beams of the day. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her and looked up. She smiled and said, “Hi – how are you?” as she confidently strolled down the sidewalk without her cane. “Is that who I think it is?” I replied, smiling the whole time.
My dogs knew her too, as they remembered her scent from months ago. It was winter when we last saw her. Wrapped in the warmth of a down coat, she returned to tell me that she’d been accepted into the Second Chance program and was headed to Sheboygan to a shelter that would teach and train her for an employable job skill. We had met two weeks earlier when she was seeking shelter and few places accepted homeless, single women. My intuition felt her goodness and strength then, and I helped her buy a spot in a shelter for a week. She came by two weeks later to thank me and I gladly gave her the money she needed for the bus trip north to leave the homelessness she had known since her mother passed away and she lost the house to back, unpaid taxes. (See previous blog: What Would You Do? – https://peggymorschlifephotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/what-would-you-do/ ) Tonight she returned again to thank me and tell me what’s happened since I last saw her. It was a joy to see her again!
Great News – Natasha’s got a job and an apartment now! She’s earned the trifecta of job, money, and apartment. Natasha’s very quick to thank God and the people that have helped her along the short, but intense journey she’s had. But just like the “Just Do It” Nike swoosh on her shirt, Natasha’s shown that resiliency wins out. Besides the Second Chance program, the women’s support group she attends 3x/week and the woman whose ‘got her back’ during the early days of her transition, there was the owner of Mo’s.
On a cold, winter night this past winter, she entered the restaurant and asked to speak to the manager, or someone who was in charge. The staff, thinking something was amiss, called for the owner. When he approached her, he asked “what can I do for you?” She asked him if she could do some odd job for him to earn some money. No doubt that he saw in her the same thing I did and he replied, “I’ve always had someone ask me to feed them but no one’s ever asked me to work for it. I can’t employee you but I can give you this.” He pulled $50 out of his pocket and put it in her hand. Natasha recently returned to Mo’s to thank him in person. She tells me that he was overjoyed to see her doing so well.
While at Second Chance, Natasha learned the skills necessary to earn a job at Applied Plastics as a machine meltist operator. At the end of 90 days she’ll be eligible for a raise. That cane she used to walk with is now gone. Her lupus is in remission and her diabetes is now controlled through pills only. No more insulin shots for her. She looks and feels good! Her weight? She’s down 40 pounds and moving with spirit as she walks down the sidewalk.
Feeling blessed myself, with a new car that I drove home yesterday, I gave Natasha a ride in it to her support group. We’ve vowed to get together again soon, as she lives within walking distance. I’m looking forward to it!
So I’ll ask my question again – What would you have done?