Jenna & I live close to an AA/NA house. they run dozens of meetings a week, so the street is usually jammed with cars on both sides. I pass it all the time– on the way to pick up that ingredient I forgot, as I’m headed to meet hannah for dinner, coming home from tutoring. lots of times I manage to walk run bike drive by as a meeting is ending & people are trickling from the doorway to their cars.
I love watching the people go in & out: people who look homeless, people in scrubs, people with fancy cars, people with no teeth, people who look like my parents & siblings. the smiley old man walking to his meeting & smoking his cigarette, the lady with careful blonde highlights & nervous eyes getting out of her clean white car. it’s strange because they don’t know me at all. & I don’t know them, but I know a tiny part of their story because I live in this neighborhood & I know what the big white house is for.
living here has taught me that addiction doesn’t always look like you might think. it makes me want to hug complete strangers, to hang up a big sign that says, “it’s going to be ok. keep on keeping on.” on any given day, it’s easy to stay in my head, to think mostly just about my life. it’s easy to think I have others figured out. but living by the AA house reminds me to be kind, to smile, to suspend judgement, to say “how are you doing?” & “thank you so much”… not just on my street, but in the world at large. because every single day–in the line at the post office, within the walls of my school–I’m blessed to hold tiny bits of the stories of people who are fighting hard battles & carrying heavy burdens. even when I never would have guessed.