What is the Sequoia project?
Friday, January 29, 2010
Spent the last couple of weeks at a homeless shelter giving a group called “Life on Life’s terms”. The shelter has a year long program that people can take advantage of. It gives them a chance to think and put together their often shattered pasts. This shelter dealt mostly in helping Vets who were homeless. They recently started to let ex-offenders through their doors. This caused many to want to back away from helping. Just say that word and many are turned off.
Anyways, one of the founders of this program asked me if I’d come down and start a group. Talk to people and see where it went. Maybe I could help them believe that they are there, that exact moment, for a reason. The choices they make today is what matters most.
These are lives that have known and experienced some of the worst things life can dish out. Many fought for their country and then had mental health issues go unattended. Some found themselves sleeping under bridges and over heat vents. Many stayed drunk and simply stayed alive.
The group went well. Can’t share the things we talked about but it did matter. Lives were lifted up and at times put on the carpet. People were called out for their bullshit. They needed to be. Everyone around them seen that they had a problem except them (not everyone but a few). I wasn’t there because I wanted to convince them to change. I was there to simply offer a little advice and compassion. I did feel bad for their situations but knew they were the batters in their own lives. You swing at the pitches and either recover from a wild pitch or stay on the ground. What do they do? What do they do when laying on the ground is a lot more safer and easier? They have to get back up or will cheat themselves out of the rest of their lives. A future that will come from learning basic new rules to live by. Be kind to people and do the right thing. that’s it. It’s really not that hard and comes with many perks. Doing the right thing and being kind to people off springs amazing things.
One particular gentleman met was named Dennis. A large man whose past showed in his face. I’ve known him about 6 months. We first looked cautiously to one another. I wasn’t there to play any games or have my time wasted. He was the house manager of the place and felt the same way. As time passed he and I would have a lot of deep talks about choices made and climbing back up after being smacked by the ball. Getting back up is where the core of our real character is molded. We either have to or die. I once heard a phrase in the movie “Shawshank Redemption”. A prison movie. Morgan freeman said something about either get busy living or get busy dieing. He said this while being covered in steel and cement for a home. That saying has always stuck with me for years since. How true it is. We don’t have a clue what’s going to take place in our lives tomorrow. The earthquake written about in the past was an example. We also can’t live our lives in the past. If we stand with one leg in both the past and future we end up pissing all over today. An old and wise man named Leroy told me this once.
Posted by Mike and Bobbi Stouffer