What does ‘Closed’ mean at Choices? For two weeks every holiday season, Choices is officially closed to afford our community regulars (staff & volunteers) time with family, friends and play. While some are headed out of town, most are busy with planning and preparations. And, we also understand that providing periods of rest for self-care helps insure sustainability – meaning that we are able to retain people who care well for pregnant and parenting folks in our communities. As well, we’ve simply learned it’s much too challenging to find replacements, so we’re closed…sort of!
‘Closed’ doesn’t reflect that we aren’t available – it just means that our office is saving on utility and heating costs, while our phone lines, (as usual), are routed to two mobile phones – which, coincidentally works quite well. Though the years we’ve answered calls in some interesting places, airport restrooms, grocery stores, family dinners, conferences, doctor appointments, and well, just about every place imaginable. So, we’re closed, yet open. You’re getting this, right?
A few glimpses of ‘closed’ goodness this past holiday season:
- A hospital chaplain who was hoping to connect a new mom and dad with much-needed resources phoned us, as he knew we’d likely have these items…and more. A volunteer advocate happily got in her car, driving to Choices to collect baby items, and headed to the hospital to offer congratulations and both practical and relational support for this new parenting journey.
- Another young mom called to kindly ask if she could get some diapers and wipes. While we weren’t officially open, we were able to have a nearby Choices community member make that happen for her. That conversation was a great holiday check-in to infuse a little emotional hug during a stressful time.
- Guests and friends (new folks and regulars at Choices) checked in with us now and again, some sharing their sadness but also asking how we’re doing – surely one of the true hallmarks of community. It’s not ‘us’ (having all the answers and strengths) and ‘them’ (needing care and help) – it’s about all of us being there for one another, finding regeneration and hope in the midst of life.
At our core, we’re about making connections and nurturing life in whatever ways are doable. We certainly welcome guests to our office during regular hours, and other times by appointment, but we also have a finely-tuned network of communication during closed times to insure that we’re available to respond to priority needs, whether that be practical or relational, and/or provide emotional support via phone, text, email, Facebook or a local coffee shop.
We are so grateful for those who share life with this compassionate community mission that provides an avenue of hope to those in need of care with sexuality, pregnancy and/or parenting concerns – together we find ways to welcome and nurture life through beautiful and hard places – and we, as well as our guests and friends are blessed.
We’re in this together folks, and together we will make it through. When we consider that by intentional design, God ‘lives’ in community among Father, Son & Holy Spirit, each contributing gifts toward the common good, we can take a hint. God’s character as gracious and welcoming, generous and always present is our Good Guide for how we at Choices can be ‘open’, even when we find our doors ‘closed’.
Go forth with goodness and hope. Shalom, and deep peace to you.