I got wrapped last night — not the rhyming, thrumming beat of a voice calling out in musical poetry (as C.C. asked when I got home :)) but wrapped in a beautiful hand-crafted quilt. The wrapping ceremony is part of the ritual of departure the women graduating from Servants Anonymous Society (SAS) participate in when they leave the formal programming to become alumni.
For me, the wrapping ceremony was a thank-you from the organization for sharing my words with the group gathered to celebrate another year of achievement, success, and hard-work at SAS.
As i stood in front of the room, the beautiful quilt drapped around my body, I felt wrapped up in warmth and safety and love and possibility. I felt embraced in the sisterhood of the women who step into SAS broken and frightened and unsure of what to do or how they’re going to do it who, weeks, months later leave empowered; with voice, with hope, with possibility shining in their eyes and plans and dreams unfolding before them. I am one with the sisters, one with the women, one with everyone who recognizes and supports the amazing and important work this agency does in our community.
The SAS mission is to provide long-term treatment programs, ongoing support, hope and wholeness to women aged 16 and over (with or without children) who are victims of, or at risk of, sexual exploitation.
Last year, 235 women and children passed through their doors. Looking at the social impact of their work, it’s a 1:9 return on investment. For every dollar spent, the impact ripples into the community again and again. Beyond the dollars, SAS creates a living circle of lives saved, children’s dreams restored, and families connected as mother’s, sisters, daughters, aunts, cousins and friends leave the street life behind to claim the life they deserve. A life away from addictions, the sex trade, exploitation, self-harm, degradation and self-hatred. And in that moving away, so much is claimed, regained, restored and built. So much that at one time seemed impossible. Seemed so far away, so impossible, undeserved. From unworthy to worthy is just a thought, but it can take a long time to claim it, and for some, for those who do not have the support of SAS or other agencies working to steal people away from street life, the thought of “I am worthy” may never happen.
Street life does that to you. It steals your dignity, self-respect, hope, belief in humankind, belief in yourself. It robs you of your sense of being at home in the world, of having a place to belong where abuse, violence, drugs are not part of the daily norm.
Street life kills
and, Because of SAS, 235 women and children found a path away from that life into the life they deserve, the life that says — you matter. you count, you have value.
I to wrapped last night.
I am grateful. Grateful for the passionate and committed volunteers, staff, alumnae, former participants and women who contribute to and participate in SAS. Grateful that women have a place to run to when the road ahead grows so dark they do not know which way to turn, and can only go to this place where they know there is a possibility to turn their lives around.
Thank you Servants Anonymous Society. Thank you Gillian and Teresa and Marina and everyone else who made last night’s event such a memorable and heart-warming evening. thank you for the work you do, the heart you share and the love you give to everyone.
My quilt has the perfect home. It sits on the big leather chair in my studio, waiting to wrap me up as I meditate with my creative muse. It will embrace me in tender, loving warmth as I create and paint and write and simply rest in peace with where I am and how I am doing and what I am creating.