“John, I’m surprised to see you here tonight. I thought you had said you wouldn’t be able to make it to our Christmas Eve dinner because you would be over at your parent’s place?”
John has been hanging out with the Sanctuary community for a number of years. Living in a geared to income apartment now, he was new to the streets when we first met him. He was pushed out of his family home at a young age as a result of deep conflict between he and his father. Christmas was the one time of year they would get together and attempt to put their differences aside.
“Don’t you remember last year?” John asked.
…And I do remember chatting with John last year the day after his family Christmas gathering. John told me that he may have eaten, and definitely drank way too much. It was all he could do to cope with the family berating him with questions: His dad, ‘got a job yet?’, Uncle Bill, ‘got a job yet?’, Uncle Fred, ‘got a job yet?’ The last thing John said really stuck out in my mind. “Just once I would like to be able to come and relax and enjoy myself and to have people happy to see me, just for me, and not be reminded of the fact that I am a complete failure in life.”…
“Ya, I remember what happened,” I told him, “But this is the one time in the entire year you get to see them, and you told me on Monday that I wouldn’t see you till after Christmas.”
I know, that was my plan, but I asked my mom if we could change our plans so that I could be here tonight to have Christmas dinner with my real family.