Stories at LLM are abundant and carriers of hope. They are often filled with pain followed by surprising joy. Stories, in all our lives, are never finished, but are always ongoing and reveal new opportunities for growth.
These stories are a glimpse into the lives of some of the friends we have had the absolute pleasure to get to know during their small, but significant time at Lower Lights. For all of us, life often reveals setbacks from unpredictable challenges that are thrown ruthlessly our way.
A Story of Surprise During Quarantine
By Christine - Resident of Lower Lights Family Housing
My story about the pandemic is full of surprises. I felt like it was going to be all bad-I’ve had a lot of that in life, so I was kind of expecting it. But in a lot of ways, it’s been a blessing, it’s made me realize what I’m grateful for.
I’m grateful for coloring-it’s been a lot of years since I had the time, or could relax enough to actually sit and color with my child. I was separated from my oldest daughter for years because of my addiction and life on the streets. When I got pregnant again, I decided to turn my life around and raise my two girls the best I could. Four years ago I got sober and became very focused and determined. I was afraid to relax my daily schedule of work, household routines, childcare and sleep. But during the virus, when I lost my job, suddenly I lost my whole schedule. I started to worry a lot. But then I realized my job isn’t the most important thing. Coloring with my little girl is important too. Slowing down and being with family is important. The big surprise for me was that in the pandemic, I realized I was free. That’s how I feel today, free.
I’ll be honest, some days I almost broke down with the stress of parenting in the midst of this crisis. There’s no money to do a lot, and not a lot of places to go. When I was in my addiction, dreaming of having both my children, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be!
I am grateful to have our home with Lower Lights Family Housing, and have been surprised by all the little acts of kindness I have seen and experienced in this neighborhood. Several times over the last few months, someone brought my little girl a goody-bag, filled with things to do and treats. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. I’ve made it through the hard times and was surprised to realize, the grass truly IS greener on the other side. Like the day I lost my job. I was crushed and the fear was overwhelming. But I kept going and found out on the other side, that I didn’t need that job as much as I thought I did.
Being let go from that job really opened doors to some new opportunities and has me thinking about future goals in a new way. It really has been fascinating to see this new me! I am free to follow dreams that my old routine had me too busy or tired to consider.
My pandemic story is full of the surprise of learning how hard life can really be, and yet seeing for the first time how beautiful it is when you slow down.
When I was out there on drugs, I thought I would die out there, I didn’t know any other way. All I wanted was to have my kids and be a real family.
During the pandemic, I’ve seen how my girls need and actually crave my attention. It’s hard to be there for them, I don’t feel like I have anytime for myself. But this is really what I dreamed of. I know now that if you see hard times through, it turns out the grass is greener than you imagine it could be on the other side. I talked to someone at the gas station the other day I use to party with. He was in bad shape, but he was so amazed to see me sober. He kept saying over and over, “At least one of us made it out.” I told him we all could make it out, I encouraged him the best I could.
Today, I like to help people. I’m fascinated by the person I’ve become-I’ve decided I like her! I thought the pandemic was going to be a horrible time for me, but it has turned out to be a blessing. I know now I’m going to be OK. I’ve got a home, I’ve got God on my side, I’ve got a community that cares for me. I’m free to dance on the green grass!
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