Friday, May 25, 2007

Shelter from the Sun


Isaiah 49 says "Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty, shade from the sun, shelter from the wind, For the Compassionate One guides them, takes them to the best springs. I'll make all my mountains into roads, turn them into a superhighway".


Let me bring you to a time in my early teen years. Haven House was my second group home. It was to be short term. I had a great deal of people who cared about me but my stubborn attitude pushed many away. Although young, I learned so many life lessons here. This was a time before the "mental games" were introduce into troubled teens lives. I call them "mental games" because as time would go forward, we all learned how to beat the system. The system being ideas like "if you let them think this, then they will act this way. Haven House was not that way at all, they taught us by life itself, teaching us that for every action, negative or positive there would be a reaction and a price to pay at some level. I hope you immerse yourself in this story as it is as true as it gets. Lord willing I will take you from this point in my life to now in the up coming stories. Here is the Haven House story as I saw it and remember it today.


What controversy there was in the neighborhood on Shepard Street. This thing called a home for troubled youth was coming. Maybe now looking back we were pioneers of our present day culture and Haven House was the pioneering concept of "fixing" us. I had already had an idea that none of the neighbors wanted us there but this was not really new to me. It had seemed for most of my life that I was just in the way.The experiences I had there would forever change me. Not knowing at the time what changes were being made but they would mold me into the person I am today. It was not the experiences to me that made the difference but the people. To prove this I have thought about all of the experiences both good and bad while at Haven House. What effect did they have? I can say mostly positive and impacting to some degree.


When I think about the people, what effect did they have on my life? There is an overwhelming deep desire to tell you that these people who gave their life to try and teach me something had such a life changing impact that it would be hard to put into words. I guess what I am saying is that it was never about the experiences but the people.To prove this after some thirty years I can tell you of only a couple of experiences I had but I can see in my mind and tell you each persons name and what I remember them doing for me.


That to me is impacting.There was Charlie, not really sure what his job was but I do remember him spending time taking to me, that's all we really wanted, just to talk and someone to listen. A lady name Anita, who did the same, always a sweet smile and a warm hello, eyes that would warm your heart no matter how bad things were. I can remember her always asking on a hot summer day "would you like something to drink?"Although not part of the Haven House my court appointed officer, Ellen. I must say she had an impact that is still lasting on me. I can remember sitting with her and talking out things, she had me do some crazy things with my fingers to test my concentration, I still do that today.


Then there were three, Michael, Peter and Barbara. They were our house parents. Now I could go into detail into each one as they each had their own special way of trying to get into my brain. They without doubt are the most interesting people I had ever met and to this day still are. I have so many wonderful memories and could write a book on my experiences with each of them but to keep this short I will just give you a brief summary of each one and the impact they had.We can start with Michael, he loved to meditate, this was his way of teaching us to relax and get in touch with our inner being if you will. We would sit for hours and just sit, sometimes talk but mostly sit. This was very relaxing and taught me a great deal about myself.


Peter I do believe loved to write, I am not sure if that is where I developed the love for writing or not. Only to say that he had this big book and he would sit and write all of what he saw going on. Peter had a heart and really loved us. As a matter of fact all three of theses shared the same heart. They truly loved us no matter what. A really good picture of how God loves us. Peter also loved to cook and grow his own food, thinking back they all three loved to grow their own food. This is where we would spend time when we did things we were not supposed to do "in the garden".


Then there was Barbara. She wore this long robe , saddles and smoked a pipe. For some reason I am hearing her say "George, what are your feelings on this". She was always caring and seemed to be very sensitive to feelings. What I remember the most about her is she cared and she loved us.I am just trying to give you some insight on Haven House, from the start. Keep in mind this was 1974 and the culture as we know it today was forever changed by the people of Haven House. It was never about the program, the event or all of the other experiences. It was always be about the people. It was always showing us they loved us. That is all we ever wanted, to be loved. It's love that make the difference.


George Beasley

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