Monday, December 15, 2008

S A F E ... How do you count the ways?

A few years ago when Pete and I lived in the Puhala Rise cottage in Manoa Valley, we ventured into downtown Honolulu for First Friday ... a regular monthly arts and enertainment event. Blocks of China Town ---art galleries, theatres and clubs in the old Honolulu district become a bazzar of pedestrian art-lovers. The atmosphere is fun, the partying ... well, it is Friday night. My level of health at the time was different than it is today, to say "I was better" doesn't really describe it, and yet the number of people at any First Friday event was already a show-stopper on most days/nights. But there was a need to be out, so we did it and got out. Motivated by a primal need to be social, my duck and cover instincts still needed to be within easy reach. The perfumes, laundry soaps and hair product were thick but as I recall the night I believe the TradeWinds were blessing the night air because I remember the night with ease and a smile.

Two events at that First Friday stick with me and inspire me to write this: first, I met and talked story with a childhood friend I had not seen for many years. Grant. His daughter was running one of the tiny galleries and proud pop and his wife were there as behind the scenes back-up. We talked about small-kid-times in a sweet-nostalgia way that has always been with Grant and his family. The second experience that made that night important was the exhibit/inter-active show happening at MARK'S Garage. The multi-media show was about SHELTER, HOMELESSNESS, SAFE PLACES. Artists, children of all ages, artists of all ages filled the gallery with options for shelter, none of them looked anything like the condonimium/three-story million dollar/apartment with a view digs that litter the islands from mountain to seashore. The specifics of these creative shelter are blurry. I recall a recycled boat, a row-bow, wooden or maybe aluminum. A sail/roof for a place to sleep. What I saw was less memorable than the feeling that I got from seeing these sheltering homes. What I felt was: safe. As part of the exhibit a bulletin board of small notepad messages filled a wall nearly ceiling to floor. The notepad paper had a short question pre-printed on each page. The question read, "What makes you feel safe?" Wow, if there was ever a question in my mind about how god speaks to us here was an answer. God spoke through the art, Beethoven would say he spoke to him through music and then tricked him into 'hearing' by turning him deaf.

Pete and I now live in a safe place, an unlikely place we could never have imagined during those days on Puhala Rise. This morning my net surfing and connections with the MCS Tribe and communities throughout the world have fed me stories of the struggle to find, keep and sustain life in safe homes. The link here will take you to PEGGY MUNSON's blog where an eloquent post makes an ugly reality almost more than I can bear. What does matter to me as I begin one more incredible day is the question written at the top of that notepad from MARK'S Garage ...

WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE? I'm making a list, checking it twice. SAFE ... How do you count the ways?

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