I was in a house this week that spoke of sadness and depression, exhibiting itself through disorganization and an “I don’t care” feeling that permeated the house. If you met this family on the street, you’d never know that there was so much sadness and frustration back at home. The things that contribute to this sadness won’t go away. But I want them to. I want to go in and wave my magic organizer’s wand and make it all better. I want to shake them awake and tell them to CARE about life and their home and their family – because they might not have that family in the same way next year. But depression doesn’t work that way I can’t shake them to fix them.
Isn’t that what we as organizers try to do? We try to fix things through making life orderly. When the world feels chaotic, we strive for order at home. Because the dissonance outside is loud and messy and challenging we seek the peace of orderly things. And we want and hope to be able to do that for people who can’t figure out how to have that peace themselves. We offer our skills, our energy and our emotions into that house, that closet, his garage. And while we know our success may be transient and understand that no matter how often we clean the house it’s going to be messy again, we do it because we need to, because caring about our people is to offer peace and order, our language of love.
As organizers, when that door is opened to us and we are entrusted with the weight and burden of disorder and chaos, we are honored to share the hopes and dreams of the space, but also the hopes and the dreams of the people that inhabit that space. And yes, sometimes those hopes and dreams are smashed, broken, stomped on and bruised….
But we have a problem, sometimes we get so caught up in the work we’ve been asked to do (“see mess, must clean it!”) that we might not actually see that the mess goes farther than the mess, the house mess that is just a symptom of the mess inside. There were so many clues from the gunman-how did we miss them? How did we miss his mess inside? In hindsight, there may have been clues from our young mother, and the family will wonder for years what they didn’t see. I challenge myself and fellow organizers, and fellow PEOPLE, to SEE people, see people for who they are, see them in spite of how they look, how they dress, how disorganized their house is. Organizers get glimpses into folks that others rarely see, tonight I pledge to continue to educate myself and be aware when people near me are hurting and do what I can to fight for the support they need.