the serenity inn is a house in milwaukee that drug addicts trying to recover can go and live. they have very strict guidelines and rules and one must sign a contract and abide by it to stay in the house. the goal is that by around 7 months, one will be clean and will have found a job. hopefully then they will then be ready to live on their own again in the real world. this is obviously a tough thing for many of the men as they are here because they reached the bottom of the barrel and many know that if they didn't try this they would end up in prison doing hard time.
our church has been volunteering to take food to the serenity inn once a month for about 2 years. i have thought about offering to help on a number of occasions and then for whatever reason i don't. once, over a year ago, i did offer to help, but was called about a week before the date and said they had more than enough volunteers so would i please offer another month. well, i didn't. for reasons unknown.
i finally did volunteer again and went earlier this week. what a wonderful experience it was for me. the house they live in was a very old home that habitat for humanity remodeled a few years ago. it can comfortably house 12 men, currently there are 6 living there. the newest has been there 2 months and the senior member 5 months. their current ages range from early 20-early 50's. 3 of us went on tuesday, both carl and sharon had been there before, i was the newbie. we arrived at 5:45 with our food ready of turkey and gravy, smashed potatoes, green beans and cherry pie with ice cream. we ate dinner with the men along with rick, one of the counselors, who lives in the house with them. prior to dinner, one of the men said a prayer, thanking God for a second chance at life and for us, for providing their physical nourishment.
during the meal, they each went around the table and told of changes in their life since they had been at serenity inn. i was especially taken with one young man who i'm guessing was in his early 20's. he talked about finally spending time with his son who just turned 2 and actually remembering the time he spent with him. for another it was his first day of work, he used to be a mechanic, and had found a job working in an car shop. to him, the greatest joy was not having the temptation to steal from the shop or owner.
after dinner, they did the dishes, and asked to keep any leftovers. then it was time to leave as they had a group meeting at 7pm. they walked us out to our car, and hugged and thanked us for our generosity. i truly felt i walked away much more nourished than any of them. it was so nice to be a part of their evening and see how they were trying to change their lives for the good. how many of them will be able to make it and stay clean? i don't know what the statistics are on this. i have found myself saying a prayer that they will be the fortunate ones.
i also know that this is something i want to do again. as i was dropped off, i told sharon, (who coordinates this project), how much i enjoyed it and wanted to do it again. i really think i will follow thru this time!
rabbit rabbit everyone and way to go today brett!!!