Monday, May 12, 2008

A Pink House

I was reminded this morning of a pink house that was in town many several years ago.

While neat with a pristine minimalist front yard, the color of this house caused much consternation in the neighborhood ~ so much so that the neighbors took up a petition to have the town hall make the owners of the house change its Pepto-Bismo pink house to a more sedate color that the neighbors preferred.

To the dismay of the neighborhood, there were no rules on the books that gave town hall the power to accommodate the wishes of the signers of this petition.

The pink house stayed pink.

I must admit, I was taken aback by the color of this house at first. But it soon grew on me, especially when I saw how happy it made my daughter to look upon this "non compliantly" colored house. And soon enough the house would cheer me up every morning as I drove on my way to work.

I once had a chance to speak with the owner of the pink house. I told him how much my daughter loved the house, and how awful it was for the neighbors to band together against this "property value reducing" house in their midst.

The owner was a gentle and kind man who had never intended to disturb his neighbors with his and his wife's choice of color. To him, it was a pretty and cheerful color. And he felt very sorry for his narrow-minded neighbors.

How is it that people admire houses of different and attention-grabbing colors while they travel to places like San Francisco and yet abhor the very same bright colors in their own neighborhood?

Why is it OK for a house to be pink elsewhere than in their own seaside New England town?

The pink house is still there. But it's no longer pink. Now it's an approved shade, fitting in nicely in a neighborhood where the houses are the color of old coffee and sickly flesh. The pristine minimalist front yard now has a nice and approved lush lawn.

The neighbors are happy.


It has been 4 and a half months since I have been working with autistic and mentally retarded young adults in a group home setting. And within that time period I had been transferred to another house where I was a better fit.

One night last week, while vacuuming the living room after the guys have gone to bed, I spotting a small white thing under the couch. Thinking that it could have been a dropped pill, I reached under to pick it up.

It wasn't a pill. Instead it was a small white bead with the letter "Y" on it.



That was the question that was coursing through my mind. "Why am I here?" "Why am I doing this?"

Of all the jobs I ever had, even the jobs from hell, never has that question been more profound. I would have never expected to find myself in this type of job situation ~ never in a million years.

And yet, here I am, caring for mentally retarded individuals ~ feeding them, washing and bathing them, cleaning up after them, and offering myself as a servant for their higher good.

Despite the strong feelings that I don't belong in this job, I know in my heart that this is the place where I need to be. Here is where I learn the lessons that I need to learn for the next stage of my growth and personal evolution.

I am here to learn humility, humbleness, and gratitude.

And if and when I leave this job, I will leave a different person from the one I was when I first entered this job.