I spent Friday tiling a backsplash for a kitchen at a transitional housing project for my local Committee on the Shelterless (COTS). Long time readers know I offer my services to that organization every year. Friday I had an assistant to help me. We had to tile around a window (like I did here) which is a challenge so it was important to have someone to help me line up the mosaic properly around the window before the adhesive dried. (I’ll be sharing that kitchen makeover later in the month.)
My assistant who helped me tile around the window was a recovering drug addict, and someone who is currently going through the stages of the program offered by COTS. He’s the kind of guy that had a rough upbringing, made a bunch of bad choices, ended up on drugs and in jail, but is now making his life better by staying clean and working odd jobs. I liked him. I liked his attitude of gratitude for just having a bed to sleep in at night. Then yesterday I spent an hour with another man who works as a janitor, currently he lives in a shack (no kidding) behind a restaurant because he can’t afford decent housing. Talking with people who live like in those conditions really puts things in perspective, especially this time of year.
I love Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday but the focus on material goods can be overwhelming. All the stuff doesn’t really seem to matter so much when you spend time with those in real need of a decent roof over their head. I had plans to deck the halls around my own beautiful home but then found I wasn’t feeling it as much as in previous years. All I want now are a few evergreens around the house, just enough so it feels and smells like Christmas. These images of more minimalist holiday decor, simple evergreens and greenery placed here and there, feel just right today.