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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

anywhere but here

Today, after a meeting, I had to go to CVS to print off some pictures of our volunteers for our vol board. As I was looking at their little faces I teared up. The CVS lab photo guy gave me a sympathetic smile and I had to restrain myself from blurting out..."I love these guys." But I do. I really do.

I feel emotionally cluttered. Very uneasy and off and torn and smooshed. I'm starting reading essential teachings from the Dalai Lama. It has already given my sould a sense of calm that I yearn for. I need to wash, clean my room.

I want to go to Australia.

I have also become inwardly frustrated by the daily inequities I see in the poorer urban areas of Philadelphia. Since I moved here and started working in North Philadelphia there have been a few buildings that looked abandoned and shut down. Now they're open and I know what they are, H&R blocks and Jackson Hewitts. I am sure that these tax places mean no harm but that doesn't pull them away from the reality that they do harm. As I was walking around the neighborhood today I was just, ehh, I don't even know the feeling. Maybe disgust, shame, frustration, sadness. Here are these people who get swarmed in on and victimized and battered and have no one to speak up for them.

I don't even feel I have room to take credit for the work I do. I constantly wonder about the work I am doing. There is a very thin line between helping people and enabling them. And while most of the time I know that our work is helping, a few instances bring my intentions into question and I wonder about it all.

What have I come here to do? Who am I in all of this? Am I the person I want to be? Is change happening? Are comfortale enough with change to let it happen?

I'm hurting...and for what I don't know. But hurting none the less. I have found myself in this place of questioning and confusion. Nothing seems clear or absolute and I wonder, what am I doing? What are we all doing here?

I was sitting in church on Sunday, listening to my pastor. Sermons that used to bring me such peace and understanding now only bring up questions in my head. And I think, cynically, how easy must the problems of the world be to a person who believes that poor will always be with us.

'Look around this world that we call 'civilized' and that for more than 2000 years has searched to obtain happiness and avoid suffering by false means: trickery, corruption, hate, abuse of power and exploitation of others. We have searched only for individual and material happiness, opposing people against each other; one race against another, social systems against others. This has led to a time of fear, of suffering, murder and famine...It is because each person has looked only for his own profit without fear of oppressing others for selfish goals, and this sad and pitiful world is the result. The root of this civilization is rotten, the world suffers, and if it continues in this way, it suffer more and more.' The Dalai Lama.

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