Yesterday evening I stood in my back garden and reflected on the work I do with Karaj. After three days’ holiday I am able to see just how hard I work when I am there.
Today was a slow start as I tried to get back into the swing of things. I felt irritated by the men’s presence – I would have preferred to have been alone to get on with my work, but as the day progressed I became more amenable. Work continued outside on the corridor and digging the trench to extend the fence. We all finished early and sat together for a long supervision session.
The main lessons for me were as follows: I did not go to church with the others on Christmas day, but I should have gone. Regardless of my views on the Catholic church, I should have gone to give love to those who have not. Don’t stay away because of the institution. I have something to give and it is equally about my own growth and responsibility.
Shona talked about the death of her father and with that she woke up the other men to the positive experiences they had with their fathers, and helped them to appreciate their fathers. It occurred to me as they discussed putting up pictures of their respective fathers that I am the only one whose father is still alive and yet, ironically, I do not have any contact with him. Karaj told me something he has said many times before: we have to separate before we can relate fully with one another.
- When people are distressed, love them, be funny with them.
- When they are okay, challenge them.
- Serving people is very tiring, and it is very difficult to only give the appropriate amount of love, support and challenge.