I dreamt last night that I gave up on Texas and went back to New Orleans.
I went to the Hands On bunkhouse, with the idea of volunteering for awhile. It wasn't the old housing site, but the new one. I arrived at night time, and the place felt so warm and welcoming. Everything was cast in this golden warm light, and had the sort of feeling that Wendy's room (from Peter Pan) might have had.
And of course it was full of my lost boys. I saw Reggie first, and he hugged me in the way Reggie does - like he might tackle you, and you're not sure if he'll ever let you go; and I mean that in the best way. Then I jumped on Chet, and after all the words and hugs, started comparing biceps in the bathroom mirror, which ended in Chet flexing his pecs; but in a silly way.
I saw Jordon there, with his characteristically happy-go-lucky smile, still wandering, still saving whatever 3-mile radius of world he happens to have wandered into.
Kristin Burlage had found some new randomness on the internet that she had to show me. And while we walked together we passed a group of new volunteers, who were laughing and light, happy and proud to be contributing; though not quite realizing the significance of everything around them. This is how I will always remember the volunteers.
I set my backpack down on my bed and, sitting in that warm light, looked out the window to the dark streets of the city. I thought how good it would feel to go work on Ms. Rose's house in the morning.
When it comes to volunteering, good will, or philanthropy in general, the truth is - You can never 'win'. The darkness that filled the streets in my dream, the suffering that pervades reality: there's an endless supply of it. It's hard-wired into the natural order of things. It's not that philanthropists and volunteers are blind to this reality. I just think some people would rather face suffering with a hammer in their hand.
But back to the dream...
I am the epitome of intuitive in nature. My mind interprets everything in senses and feelings. I woke up this morning with this overwhelming dream residue - this feeling just dripping from my chest. I brushed my teeth and hair, staring in the mirror and trying to define it.
I finally found words for the feeling, and the realization sent two tears down my face.
It was love.
This crazy, rag-tag group of volunteers, swinging their hammers futiley into the endless darkness; hammering away at a hurricane, at the next hurricane, at insurance companies and politicians, at their own demons, fighting a losing battle - because they just can't stand the idea of giving in. These are my favorite people.
In life, I will always love them most.