“If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it”- Richard Rohr
As far as I am able to tell, pain is one of the few unavoidable realities of the human experience. Every person, even those with incredible privilege, has been met with pain at some point, and most of us spend more time working at avoiding pain than we’d like to admit. At Regeneration, pain and its impact on lives is a visible and essential part of the transformative work that happens every day.
My first two years at Regeneration were a lesson in understanding how unresolved pain can and will be transmitted to other people. As a human being going through intense self-reflection and so many painful life changes, I was in circumstances where I needed extra love and support from people around me. Unlike so many of the people that I served and cared for, I was in the fortunate position of having family and friends who would listen to me, and support me in my place of need. Moreover, I worked with a team of incredible staff, volunteers and guests that encouraged me everyday and treated me as someone who belonged.
There is no better place that I can think of for people who are hurting and in need of a warm embrace than Regeneration. The mission of a loving community is exactly what people experiencing pain are searching for- on so many occasions I have heard the words “if it wasn’t for Regen, I would be dead” or “I do not feel judged here”. The staff and volunteers who give of their time and energy do so to help others find a place to be, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. It is that kind of experience that allows hurting people to begin that transformative process of healing; that long arduous journey toward wellness that is often unfathomable for our guests when we first meet them.
It’s easy for an outsider to walk in and see the coffee and breakfast, or the line of guests waiting to receive their weekly groceries and see Regeneration as a simple food bank or meal program. After all, take away all the additional services, system navigation, showers, laundry, technology support, referrals, health care and social work partners, and spirit of kindness and Regeneration would be a simple food distributor. As someone whose trajectory has been profoundly impacted by the transformative work of Regen, I know how life-changing a conversation over a cup of coffee can be.