Today there was a Homeless Remembrance service at the Haywood Street Congregation. The church has worship services on Wednesday at 12:30 and many members attend who do not have homes. A free lunch is provided for everyone as well as a clothes closet. Folks are not required to go to the worship service in order to receive lunch which is unlike some other organizations here in Asheville. I went with my friend Bill who often attends there. He used to not have a place to live but now I am on a team of folks supporting him as he moves into housing.
I’ve attended once before but today was a special day. We were remembering all those who died who were homeless in Asheville this past year. The crowd was large and fairly noisy. At one point, a mother left with her crying child and the pastor Brian said it would be fine if she wanted to stay. She still choose to leave. I think Brian’s attitude is a good one to have for all must feel welsome at worship. However, I was secretly glad she took the baby out. It would have made worship very difficult for me to attend do to my inability to divide my attention. (If there’s noise I am unable to block it out and focus on what is important) I don’t do well with a lot of stimulation and this service certainly had this. I really wanted to attend so I pushed myself even though I knew it wasn’t the best environment for me.
Following the service, a group of us who are supporting Bill as he goes from being homeless to having a home, met together to bake Christmas cookies. I don’t usually attend two over stimulating events back-to-back but both events were important to me. We met at the synagogue which was near-by and we even had Jewish cookie cutters! I did talk to the Rabbi a bit about the difficulties of being Jewish during this Christmas season. I would have liked to talk to her and others on the team more about this but it is difficult for me to have a conversation while I’m doing something. I now can do only one thing at a time and I just couldn’t concentrate enough on a conversation with all the hustle and bustle. (again, dividing my attention)
I did have to leave the room for a bit because I could feel myself being overloaded cognitively. I went to the sanctuary (Again, my ignorance. Is it called a sanctuary in a synagogue?) and put my ear plugs in but there was construction noise right outside the window. I went back to the fellowship hall and found a chair in the corner where I could “rest my brain.” I felt much better after returning ten minutes later.
I don’t think people realize how much energy and planning it takes to do simple things when one has a TBI. If you have a brain injury, what sort of things do you have to do in order to participate in events? Do you find it difficult to concentrate on things when something else is going on? Commenting instructions are on the upper right hand side. (I’m unable to comment here so if you would like a response, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org) Have a happy holiday!