R has been attending Doorway sessions for several months. Although he has a tenancy now, he has a history of rough sleeping, and battles alcohol problems with variable success. He often has an appearance of being ground-down and burdened, and smiles only rarely.
I was working on the desk one day as he was signing out. Another guest caught up with him to give him a harmonica from the music project (they obviously had discussed this). Lisa encouraged him to ‘give us a tune’.
This he did, after some hesitation. He played, tentatively at first, to a politely positive audience around the hall and door. As he got into the music, he became more confident, and it became obvious that he really could play well.
It was as if he were rediscovering an old friend. His face lit up as if a switch had been flicked, and the audience reaction changed to one of genuine appreciation, respect for his talent, and wonderment.
He looked so happy at the end of his playing, and pleased with the response. He agreed with the other guest that they should get together in future music sessions and jam some blues.
R had attended Doorway initially to meet the most basic of human needs, but has clearly started to get so much more than that out of it.
It was uplifting to see.
That moment will not show up on any statistics, but will stay with those of us who were privileged enough to witness it.