I am a Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. My main job function is to ensure we are fully staffed twenty-four hours a day. One of my many other responsibilities is managing our lodge employee program. Lodge employees are people who work at the nursing home and live in one of the lodges on our campus. This lodge is a housing unit for people in recovery, many of which are homeless. These individuals, after their first thirty days of sobriety, are then allowed to come up and work at the nursing home as monitors. I can name about a dozen people who are here for a few months, try to go out on their own, then relapse and come right back. Then there are the guys who I see once and never see them again. I feel for these people, and the lives they have chosen. I grow fond of some of them, and try to be there for support, and tell them about my own personal recovery. I root for them hoping they can beat their addictions and enter back into society with a place to live. I look at their lives and it makes me grateful for who I am and what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I had one of my lodge employees come talk to me over the winter. This guy has been one of the best employees I have had in over three years. He came to me one day to ask me for advice. His dilemma was whether he should leave the lodge and grab his fiancé from another sobriety/homeless shelter in Minneapolis, take the money he has made working here, and go back to St. Cloud to live in a motel. Being that it was winter, he was concerned about what he would do when he ran out of money. He told me it would be almost impossible to find a homeless shelter to live in up there. He said he felt content and safe at the lodge and is going on two years of sobriety. His fiancé, on the other hand, was staying somewhere in Minneapolis where they will hold a bed for her as long as she volenteers as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. She does not like where she is and is trying to pressure this guy to leave. He wants to stay here until springtime because he says it’s a lot easier to be homeless when the weather is nice. I offered some programs he could check into but I really wanted to shake this guy and tell him there are so many options out there for him, he doesn’t need to be homeless. I advised him to stay where he was at and encourage his fiancé to do the same.  

This got me thinking of my own life and how truly lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, and wonderful family. I have a stable job, although not what I dreamed I would become; it pays the bills. I live in a beautiful home, there are times I just stop and take a step back in awe seeing all that I have. There is always food on the table and we feel blessed knowing our kids will never starve. Although I do not place a high value on possessions, we have many things people only dream of. We are able to spoil our kids for Christmas and even though we live check to check, we manage to survive month in and month out. These are all blessings I have been given, which I am sure any of the guy at the lodge would give anything to have. The problem is, I don’t always realize how truly blessed I am, it is as if, I almost forget how great I have it (this is usually when ego takes over.) I will at times take for granted the life I have and the people within it. I just grow comfortable with my situation, I do not take the time or energy to realize and reflect on what I am thankful for. In this situation I  take for granted the things and people I have in my life. I do not express enough how grateful I am to have everything that I do.

Considering my severe mental illness, and my personal battles with addiction, I could realistically be any of these guys over at the lodge, or perhaps even much worse. I wish I could take all the credit for this, but my beautiful wife has been my guiding light. Even in my darkest hours her love, compassion, and just plain giving a shit, has always lead my way home. She has always seen me for the man I can become, even though I have shown her the opposite. My children give me the motivation to become a better father than I have ever had. I have wonderful mother, supportive siblings, regular readers, a killer children’s book series, a great home,  cool shit I never thought I would have. I have kids who love and think the world of me, a great dog (not my first choice but I have grown to love him) and I am one of the few people out there who can say they found and married their soul mate. I may not always see it, but I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

As for the gentleman I mentioned earlier; sadly he did not take my advice. He left two days after we had our conversation, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Wherever he is, I hope he can find the same happiness I know today.

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Comments
  1. gingerclub says:

    This is such a beautiful post. I almost had tears in my eyes. So nicely written and so honest! I hope a lot of people who are in the situation the fellow you described was in will read this. This post radiates so much hope for many! Thank you! One of your best I have read so far!

    Ginger

    http://beatbloodpressure.wordpress.com

  2. Mrs. Lundmark says:

    Thank you Timothy I greatly appreciate it.
    We love you 🙂

    • Mrs. Lundmark says:

      I love when you can see life thru these glasses. Keeping life in perspective has always helped you better maneuver thru each day. I love you, excited for show marathon in a few hours!!

  3. Mrs. Lundmark says:

    As for the man at the lodge, he needs to find his own guide out of the darkness before he will learn to live a different way. It is heart breaking to watch a person self destruct, even more when you love or care about that person.

  4. Hey, you did your best to tell the guy. From a spiritual point of view(and this may not apply), we just have to sit back and say “There but for the grace of God, Goes I.”
    Keep writing, Keep Blogging

  5. Tim,
    Sometimes we all need to take a step back and think about all we have been given instead of what we haven’t got. Great post!
    All we can do for others is plant seeds. It is up to them to see that they are watered.
    Jodi

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