Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Island

 The island of misfit toys. A home for the broken, bruised, and battered. For the homeless, the displaced, the worried, and scared. It was "you aren't your old mans whipping boy." "You don't have to worry." It was "I lost my place to live, can you spare a couch a few months?" "I can't go home, can I stay the night?" "I didn't know where to go and ended up here." It was a family when you didn't have one, a home away from home, a safe place. It was "we look out for our own and YOU are one of us" it was a shoulder to cry on and a hand to help you up. It was come as you are cos we don't judge.
You may laugh at what we called it but that was the only thing that fit for us misfits. We were the black sheep, the "bad influences" the misunderstood. And we loved more than anywhere else. We had no idea how fragile that place could be. How quickly a few things could tear it apart. It felt so natural to care and look out.

 We had one show up when he took a hard fall and hit his head. He had no idea what happened or how he got there. He was closer to his house when he fell but he still came to us. We had a few come when there was nowhere else to go. A few come after fights with family who couldn't go back home. We had all kinds. And they all got treated the same, with food, a blanket, a comfy couch, and at least a night of peaceful sleep.

 I can look back and mark the exact events that were the downfall. Most of them, totally avoidable. I kick myself for not being able to stop them. I don't know why something like that is so fragile but not knowing then that it was is probably what really destroyed it. Something like that can't even get pieced back together once it falls apart either. I've watched the attempts, stood by and held back tears as I watched things drift further and further from what they were. I'm glad that I got a chance to experience it first hand though, It's almost something unbelievable if you don't. It will always be one of the best things I remember from my early teens into my 20s. I'm proud to have been raised to care that way, to take care of the people who need it, to give, to love, to feed, to protect, anyone who asks, or anyone who's too afraid to ask. I hope that I can pass the same values on to my own kids. I know it must have taken a lot for my parents to teach them to me.

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