The Polish Woman-DONT JUDGE

Today I went to the hospital to drop off a prescription and when I was in the parking garage trying to park I had quite an interesting experience… There was an SUV that kept backing in and out of a space trying to get out. There was at least 10 cars behind me waiting to get past this car. Finally when the driver pulled in one more time before she reversed the three cars in front of me zoomed past and I followed around we were all frustrated. I looked back at the car and it was an old lady in there.. The remaining cars that were waiting continue to zoom past behind me. I parked one floor up and I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I walked down to the next level in the parking garage and went up to the car door of the lady that was again trying to reverse out of a space. I went to her driver side window and asked her if she was in need of help. She said, “yes I am”. I said how about you get into the passenger seat and I drive your car out of here for you. She immediately got out and went around to the passenger side no questions asked. As I drove down a couple of the ramps I talked to her to try to figure out what was going on she said that she had eyes surgery today and it was supposed to wait but she had to get back home right away so she left the office early. Her family was too busy to drive her to her eye surgery today. I told her that it was not a good idea for her to leave right now and that she should wait. I sat in the car with her for 20 minutes while she told me stories of her coming to this country with only five dollars in her pocket. It didn’t look like her eye condition was getting better enough to drive so I parked her car in a different spot and brought her inside with me to fill my prescription. While we waited for my prescription to get filled and we had lunch and continued to chat. She was the sweetest 80-year-old lady I have met. Of course I am biased towards Polish people but she had a lot of wisdom to share and she had quite an interesting story. Once her vision came back to normal I walked her back to her car and made sure that she got out of the parking garage okay. She thanked me and told me that God sent an angel to help her today and that she was very grateful. I learned a lesson in humility today. I was so frustrated and angry at this person who could not back out of the space and was holding everybody up while in the meantime it was somebody who was struggling and needed help. I need to exercise Grace more frequently in life as much as has been given to me over the years. We are in such a hurry so many times that it’s hard to see what’s really going on around us.

Homeless in Detroit

detroithomeless
This homeless guy was sitting inside a restaurant in Greektown and people inside the restaurant called the police on him for being there. Cops responded and removed him from the facility. I asked the people that were sitting next to him why they called the police. They said ” he smelled bad and he is homeless, I don’t want to deal with that while I am eating my dessert.” I can understand that point…to an extent….. What was unique about the situation was that the police officer went back in and bought the guy a coffee and brought it out to him. Then he proceeded to tell the man that he hopes he does better in life and makes better choices. My friend went up and asked the guy his name and prayed over him. He was very thankful and said that nobody has done that for him before and that nobody even cares what his name is. Homeless people are people too…..they are human beings. They may struggle with addiction many times, but we all have our own struggles that aren’t as obvious.  We were meant to love people and not judge them. It is unrealistic (and a bad idea) to give cash to every homeless person that you see on the street. It is a good thing to make eye contact and acknowledge them as a person instead of walking past to avoid the begging question we all expect.

Ive lived on the streets, I know the routine. My family comes from the inner city, so I can boldly say- It is NOT wise to give a homeless person money “for the bus” or “for groceries” or whatever the story may be.  You are doing more HARM than good. It is better ( yet more time consuming) to walk them into a nearby restaurant and buy them a sandwich or food. If they refuse that- there is your answer….walk away and wish them the best…they have choices to make in life as well. You cant save everyone..but you can love people and change the world one life at a time.

Detroit- A broken city on the rise…but its still a city

photo-37Detroit walk- I am without a vehicle this week so I have been walking around the Downtown Detroit today to get place to place. As I was walking down near a street of abandoned buildings this was the experience I had with a homeless man following behind me on my walk past Cass park towards Woodward Ave. =

Man- Hey mam, do you have any money for the bus so I can get to a shelter

Me: Where are you trying to go

Man: Oh, this place near Woodward and Selden

Me: Oh, great I know exactly where that is at, I will walk with you over there, you don’t need a bus. it is less than a mile. I am going that way anyway.

Man: Well, actually can I have some change for food then?

Me: I won’t give you cash, but I will walk with you and buy you food from that corner store when we walk past it

Man: No No No, can I just have you then pretty girl? I could make you feel real good!  ( he walks towards the sidewalk closer to me)

Me: Our conversation is done, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you cant talk to people like that ( I walk further away from him and start walking in the middle of the street)

Man: (comes right up next to me and puts his hand on my backpack) come on white girl, you know you want some of this black ****!

Me: No, Don’t touch me! ( I pull my bag to the other side of my body and go to the other sidewalk still walking towards my destination, walking faster)

Man: I will give it to you whether you want it or not, get back here white girl and give it to me. Don’t make me come get it now. ( he runs up behind me and grabs my arm)

Me: (I push him away and run down towards Woodward and make it to the turning lane in between traffic and he sees construction workers near me now)

Man: (laughing and yelling) I will be waiting for you beautiful, you gonna get some

Such a lovely stroll through midtown Detroit! Sadly, this is not my first time having to deal with this scenario in the city. I have had this scenario happen in many different ways on most days I am outside in the city. Typically I carry a 9mm and I am a bit less fearful, however, today I was not armed. I had no choice but to walk through this section to get where I needed to go, I didn’t have a vehicle, I could not find a ride, and Uber had no drivers in the area. SO my only choice was to walk. You can easily say, “well, why would you put yourself in that situation” IT WAS 2 pm middle of the day…middle of the city, if you don’t have a vehicle you have no choice but to walk. Many people in the city, young women, teenagers, and students have to get around the city this way everyday. This situation is LIFE.

Unfortunately, in my field of work (Detroit Forensic nurse, specializing in rape and sexual assault victims) I see this scenario played out to the end and the girls usually don’t get away. If they end up living through the assault, most girls that come to me were walking in daylight and pulled into a building or into an alley, in some cases a car pulls up to them on the sidewalk and they are grabbed and pulled into the vehicle and dropped off into a new location before coming to me. THIS IS REAL LIFE. It happens everyday. Luckily today I was able to get out of the situation. He was a 50 year old, 6″, at least 220  lb black male with a leather jacket on. It is SO important when you come to Detroit to experience the excitement of the up and coming city- BE SMART.  Detroit is on the “rise” but it is still a big city, and it is a hurting city. It has the reputation of being the murder and violent crime capital for a reason. That doesn’t change just because the buildings are starting to look artsy and cool.

There is a lot of Hype about Detroit these days. Many people hold to the stigma that Detroit is the murder capital of the world and has the highest crime rate. That cant be argued. That is pure fact. The FBI has released its annual stats for 2015 of major U.S. cities with the highest crime figures. Topping the list — with far and away the worst murder and violent crime rates — is Detroit. However, there are also those that hold to the fact that Detroit is on its way back up. This is true….but it is relative to how far down it already is. There are many investors scooping up properties and improving the facade of the city. This gives the city a great appearance and the hipsters and young professionals moving downtown with their talents and arts make the city sound and look better. That is also a fact.

There is a greater issue at hand that hasn’t been touched on by many. A city is made up of people. You can not change a city without changing the people. The city can be expanded and built up for years and years, but buildings don’t make up the city, the people do. The people of Detroit are hurting. There is a financial need, a spiritual need, and a family structure need. The city has been through years of hurt. The people in the city of Detroit have been “institutionalized” to the way things are. Many of the inhabitants of the city are quite offended at the changes. Many cannot afford to live downtown any more because of the rental price increases. This has created a deep resentment and anger towards those who are moving to the city to build it up. Last year when I lived in Detroit I was persecuted daily for being a “white girl in our city”. I was told to go back to the suburbs and leave their city alone. SOME PEOPLE JUST DON’T WANT HELP.

So much focus is put into the homeless population. In many cases those who are homeless are choosing to be. Sometimes the drugs make the decision for them and many times they just don’t know any different and don’t care to. The culture has been set and most do NOT want “help”- Money, yes they want that…as does anybody- but true help and change is not something that is typically desired and that is what most people miss.

I have spent many years on the streets and I have experienced homelessness. I get it. I understand. My mom worked as a prostitute in Detroit and my father lived in crack houses for much of his life. I have been doing a lot of street and inner city mission work in an attempt to “give back” and help. Unfortunately, all that has showed me is that the current culture of people ” helping the homeless and hurting” in Detroit is flawed. One thing remains- you cant help somebody who wont help themselves. You just can’t. You cant save everyone.

The Purpose of Hurt

Light can only enter through an opening. People who go through trauma are left with open wounds. When we recover from our traumas and prove to be resilient we are enlightened. The trauma happened but now we have experience, wisdom, and insight. Our open wounds allows an opportunity for our new found light to shine through to show others what we have accomplished. Others who are struggling will see our hurt and how we react to it. If we hide our traumas and never share our stories or experience with others than the trauma had no purpose. Once we turn our struggle into an accomplishment then we can help others get through their current struggle. You cant have a testimony without a test.

We are often afraid to open up because of the fear of judgement. There needs to be a change in our society. Society looks down on those who have negative pasts. As much as we like to think that we are non-judgmental, the truth is, we are!

What drives change?  Change does not always come from an organizational level. Change comes from individuals willing to come forward with their stories and break through walls of silence in order to break open doors of freedom. We all have a story. The most prestigious people that we know have a past that they would never want their peers to know. If those who are in leadership always pretend that their life has always been great, then those who are struggling have less motivation to pursue their dreams because they don’t think they will compare to the current leaders.  Transparency is a must in leadership. The song “started from the bottom now were here”  really does prove that point. When you see a strong leader who has accomplished much in life, come forward with a rags to riches story- that will be a huge inspiration.

If you are struggling and broken, you can be helped. However, nobody will know that you need help unless you humble yourself to ask for help. When you acknowledge your vulnerability, people will be able to help you. We all go through periods of struggle and periods of prosperity. At each of those stages in life we have different tasks. When you are prosperous- help others. When you are struggling- accept help. It is a part of life. We will all need help at some point and we will all be able to give help at some point. Participate in the rotation. Build your community. Life is short- but life is good.

http://www.lavitanova.orgIMG_6733

Life is short….How do you spend your “dash”?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend,
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth. . .
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars. . . the house. . .the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard. . .
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile. . .
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash. . .
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

– Anonymous

One of my favorite poems with such a great message.. thought provoking!

Friends vs. Acquaintances

A bomb just went off and all the banks have been destroyed. Money is no longer an element in society. Anarchy is taking over. It is now, every man for himself. Homes are being broken into and innocent people are getting murdered. Supplies are limited. Who are the people in your “circle” that you would stand next to in that scenario? Who would have your back and share their supplies with you until your time ran out? Who would you want to spend the last week of your life with if you knew there was an impending air raid? Who are your “friends”? Who can you trust? Who do you invest your time in, and why?

There is a difference between friends and acquaintances ( people you have met along the way) people who invest in you and build you up as a person are friends. People who you say “hi” to at social functions and have as a Facebook friend don’t necessarily count. Who is investing in you as a person and your future. Who can you go to when your car breaks down at 3 am…who do you value as a person? Who will bail you out of jail when you get a DUI and wont tell anybody else about it and wont treat you differently? These are things I think about when I decide who I am going to put time and effort into.

We put so much time, emotion and emphasis on the relationships we have in life. That is good- community is key to survival. In life, one of the biggest hurts we face is the loss of a person close to us. We lose people daily in many ways. Some die and some move away whereas some are romantic relationships that ended and others are friendships that grew apart. Either way- it is a loss. It is important to validate that each loss causes pain. With every goodbye, you learn.

The key point is that each person you come across in life is for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to get us through a hard time in life when we didn’t think we had anybody. A person will come out of nowhere to be “your person” through that trial. In time, that person may fade out of your life yet sometimes they stay. Sometimes we enter into romantic relationships that don’t last. We have to go into relationships knowing that each relationship you enter into will either end in a breakup, or you will end up together. That is part of the process. Each person that you meet may not be the one you end up with- however, they were there for a purpose. Yet each breakup we face we are devastated- why?

When romantic relationships end, we tend to get lost in aloneness and lose self worth thinking that we will be single forever because we lost the one that we wanted to be with. If you ended the relationship then you made the right choice- it wouldn’t have been an option in your mind if it wasn’t the right decision. If that person left you it is important to remember that there is no use wasting your emotions on somebody that LEFT YOU. What you do with yourself and your future no longer includes them. It is hard to face that but it is true. You WILL miss them. That is also part of the process, but remember that you weren’t the one who gave up. When the relationship is right, that person wont just walk away. If it is TRUE LOVE then they will love you unconditionally and work through ANYTHING. When you experience a broken heart think of it as a blessing from God. It is your reminder that He saved you from the wrong one. You dodged a bullet, so to speak. Nonetheless, it will still be painful and it takes time to make peace with that.

When your friend circle dissipates and you start to feel alone, it is natural to feel lonely. Your best friends may enter relationships and start investing their time in a significant other rather than you. That is hard to accept and it is easy to resent their new love. However, if the roles were reversed you would do the same. It is a natural part of the process. Some of your friends may get married and start having kids. It is fun to see the baby here and there, but eventually you realize that you as a single person don’t fit in with the married people and their babies. You just don’t. Not yet. That is hard to accept as well. The key here is to accept that as normal. It’s the cycle of life. Singleness is NOT a bad thing. It is fun and exciting and it is typically only for a time period. Don’t waste that season of singleness in misery worried about who is the right one. If you don’t remove yourself from that previous scenario of your previous friend circle and create a new one then you will get depressed. We all do.

We have to realize that our community of friends is ever-changing. People will come and go from our lives at different points in time. We need to be open to making new friends and entering into new circles in order to avoid getting lost in aloneness. Holding on to the past of how things “used to be” is delusional thinking. Move forwards not backwards. Things will NEVER be the same…that doesn’t mean that is bad- It will just look different. People will be in your life for a specific reason….or they may just be there to help you through a season….and sometimes, JUST sometimes, people stay in your life until the end. Those people are rare and those relationships should be cherished. It is important to note that a relationship takes two people. That means each party needs to invest time and effort into it.

If you come to a point where you are investing a lot of effort into people and you are not getting the same return as you used to, that may be the point where you have to stop and realize it may be time to let go and move on. You only have two hands. Holding on to two hands that don’t want to hold yours back will take up your energy and your hands. Free yourself up for people who WANT to put the effort back into you. Stop crossing oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you. Life is short. Spend your time wisely with those who want to spend it with you. Don’t force relationships. You will be fine….just fine…..

The Detroit Comeback: Is it real?

Detroit…..

Masquerade Brigade

“You lived in Detroit? Get out. No you didn’t. You mean you lived in one of the nice suburbs around Detroit? No? So, actually like, inside Detroit Detroit. Wow, well, tell me about it. I read this article the other day… I mean, I’ve been hearing a lot about Detroit lately…”

So have I.

Over the last couple of years or so, “The Detroit Comeback” has become a staple headline across news media outlets all around the globe. From small local newspapers to the BBC, the headline has been recycled eagerly over and over again. And quite frankly, that headline is really starting to upset me.

Now, before any of you proud Detroiters start throwing your coney dogs at me, let me first say this: I love Detroit! I just have a bone to pick with Detroit’s new trademark “The Detroit Comeback” headline.

detroit silhouette

First, this headline has created a shockingly…

View original post 1,027 more words