for the past couple of weeks...and at various times in the past...I have struggled with what is it that saints really means?
I guess it means different things depending on who you are and what you need.
but to me and the animals too...I want it to mean that hope floats...for you, for me...for them. I have said before that saints is a place of possibility. a place where failures, can be successful, the unhappy can find happiness, the misunderstood can find some understanding, the lost can somehow find themselves, the unwanted, unloved and pain in the asses, can find acceptance and family.
there are reasons why I take in animals mostly sight unseen..i don't want them to have to pass some kind of test to have a chance, to have an opportunity. I take them in and as far as I can, I find some way to help them find what they need.
and I am telling you that the animals themselves rarely disappointment me. there have been some that just couldn't stay, that I had to euthanize because their needs were just too far beyond me. but they were so few and it was thru no fault of their own, it was me that was missing some greatly needed thing that was critical for them to stay.
every animal who comes here, poses some kind of risk. I do not know what we will truly get until they actually get here. and we bend, and we stretch, and we find ways to move past what we thought were uncrossable limits. maybe not always, sometimes we hit a brick wall, but we try. and it is our willingness to keep trying, to keep stretching, to push past the solvable problems that gives these animals the actual chance to find the possibilities here.
I am having a real problem lately dealing with a few things. the occasional betrayal of trust that happens in rescue...well I have been there before. and it took me a long time to learn, that these kind of betrayals are not personal. just like when the animals come in carrying a bunch of baggage, people sometimes come in carrying the same.
the difference of course is that saints is set up and well equipped to help animals de-clutter that previous life unhappy stuff, we have never been set up to de-clutter and sort out people stuff. it is not our area of expertise. still....I like to think that people can also come here and find for themselves some of the missing keys to a happier life if they need.
and that is where hope steps in again, where opportunity and possibility are sitting here, waiting and free.
if you happened to read that previous blog entry about the sanctuary of sorrow, you might get what I mean. I think that man's biggest mistake was locking the doors and refusing entry. he was afraid of what might come in the door...critics, competition that he might not win, negative judgements, other people's problems and politics, betrayals, misunderstandings...maybe even the truth if it was something he did not want to see. so he locked all the windows and doors and did what he did hidden, maybe he thought he was safe...away from what others could see, do or say.
I have been in rescue for a very long time. I have seen other rescuers retreat behind walls that they built. they do it to protect themselves from pain. and yes most of them have been hurt in the past, almost always by people who betrayed their trust in some way or another. sometimes from people who were just out to take down another or grab some kind of personal reward in some kind of way. the problem of course is once you retreat behind walls and closed doors, your rescue is on the real road to failing. rescue cannot be healthy and sustainable if it is hidden. rescue cannot move forward to meet the challenges of the future if it is stuck wallowing in the pain of the past. and rescue cannot remain rescue if it becomes too fearful, too paralyzed by fear of taking a chance.
in some respects, every day in rescue is like taking a step out into the unknown. when new animals come in, yes I am cautious..i am careful until I get to know them. and I am the same way with people but even more so. it takes me a long time to let down my guard and fully trust those around me. sometimes I sit on the fence for a very long time, waiting to see what that person really means to bring to those who live here inside. will they stay? in a few months or weeks, will they go? what are they looking to take from here or what are they willing to bring?
it has nothing to do with impressing me. impression is lost on me..the biggest hits I have taken in rescue were from those that seek to impress. those are the folks who really needed to get something back. and in every single case, I was incapable of paying them back. and every time that I couldn't pay what they thought they were owed, it became a total disaster.
I think what I am trying to say here is this...rescue is an open road. it does not have a beginning nor end, it does not have high walls of fear or want or outright craving surrounding it.
there are a lot of things that I want in my life. I would like some respect for what I do here, for my sacrifices. but it is not necessary for the work that I do. what is necessary is that I still am willing to do the work without that stuff. I would also like some peace and stability, where I can wander around here and commune with my animal friends knowing that all of us are valued and safe. but that peace and stability is not critical to every day, sometimes I can be knee deep in utter bullshit and still get the job done. I would like this world that I have built to be accepting of not only of the animals but also of the people who come here. I don't particularly care if someone bugs me or someone else, I am more interested in despite that irritation, what actually gets accomplished that benefits saints residents in some positive way. I would like to be able to tell every person here, exactly how I think they should think and how I think they should behave but on the whole I have to stand back and just let things play out the way they are going to play. I would like everyone to always like me but that's never going to happen because I am not willing to twist myself into a popularity pretzel to get there and it has nothing to do with my job here anyway. miss congeniality can go into politics, daytime tv talk shows or beauty pageants, but the tough world of rescue is probably not her right place.
in some respects rescue is a war zone..it is a battle to survive physically, spiritually and mentally intact until the end of each day. and I get there (so far) because for me hope floats for the goodness in animals, in people, for the possibilities that open if given a chance. if believing that what we do here can change not just an animal's world for the better, but can somehow effect positive change in us and our world too.
I don't have to rush thru every open door and throw out my arms to embrace every single thing. but I have to be willing to keep the doors of possibility open and see what goodness might be waiting to come in.
the day I preface every rescue statement with "I hate people" is the day I need to be done. if the hurt and pain and frustration reach the point of being more than I can deal with anymore, then instead of locking the door, it is time for me to walk out that open door and find somewhere better for me. I do not want to live in a world where I expect people to walk all over me, where I am waiting for someone to hurt me, to take from me. where I think someone, everyone, anyone is out to get me. I wouldn't like living in a world where I thought I could never be safe. i am however willing to live in a world where I know these things can happen to me occasionally. I am willing to take that occasional chance.
but what I want to live and believe is that saints holds a universe of good possibilities... for the animals, for you and for me. that's what I really want to believe. I don't know if this will always be, but for now, it is and that has to be good enough for me.
ok..I think, I hope, I worked this out so I can once again put some of this stuff behind me and freaking move on!.