I have embarked on a potential volunteer gig. And of course, I can’t do something simple like walking dogs and picking up poop at the Humane Society. No, I have to go and volunteer to be a guardian ad litem (aka court appointed special advocate) for children who are in the civil court system. It is not for the weak. I am still not sure that I am strong enough to do it. But nonetheless, I keep attending the trainings. Every Saturday at the courthouse in Kapolei (which is like the other side of the world from where I live) from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It wears on me.
This past Saturday a therapist with Catholic Charities spoke to us about trauma. He works with children. At the end of his presentation he made us do this activity. He told us to write down a secret that no one, or hardly anyone, knew about us and then to fold it and put our name on it. The attorney at the training wanted to know what he was going to do with the notes. He would not give any additional information. You could tell that this exercise was making everyone very uncomfortable. I can’t lie. I have secrets. Who doesn’t? But I decided that I really couldn’t write the absolute worst. I picked the third worst and even that was dreadful to write down and put my name on and hand over. It was so emotionally wrought that the person next to me was tearing up and needed a tissue. Then he took all the secrets and left the room for about five minutes. I was relatively certain that he was going to flush them down the toilet or bring them back. And sure enough, he brought them back and returned them to us. It was a relief. And the point was that the way that we felt, is the way that children feel who are asked to recount their trauma. It was pretty effective. So that is what my Saturdays have been like this month.
Along with the training, I have got to meet a bunch of interesting people. There is one woman, who is maybe a bit older than I am, who moved here about five years ago from Thailand. She lives in a small house in Waianae and her husband works in Kapolei. We were chatting over lunch this past weekend and she was telling me that she had not been to town in weeks. This, of course, amazed me. I am a townie. I have always been a townie. So to not come to town was completely foreign to me. Then I told her that we had got to eat at Piggy Smalls, the Pig and the Lady’s little sister restaurant that just opened. She had never heard of the Pig and the Lady. Again, amazement on my part. P&L is my favorite restaurant by far.
I have been thinking about that conversation. Thinking about my friend over on the west side of the island. Thinking about her non P&L life. And then it dawned on me that I am not living a simple life. I am not living a simple life by my definition or likely by anyone else’s definition. And that kind of made me sad. And I started thinking about what I could do without and it seemed like there could potentially be a lot. And maybe when I think about that, maybe there is the possibility to make some changes. To make changes that will make me a happier person.
It is a small thing. But it is a thing. It is a thing that I will keep in my mind. Roll it around. Take it out for a test drive maybe, to see how it goes. Perhaps taking the simpler path till help me to make difficult choices. To plan for the future. To figure out my path. It very may well be much simpler than it is today. And maybe I could be OK with that.