"I'm interested in diamonds, not this chaos," said the woman at the shelter observing two woman fighting in line for breakfast. I've begun to notice that all of the fights and drama I've witnessed at the shelter have been insighted by the inconsistancy of staff "rules." Last night a woman was removed from the shelter loudly and in the midst of the cold night because she has nightmares and eats in her sleep. The yelling caused by this incident caused several women to have nightmares and several others to yell as well.
This was counterbalanced by the evening worship service that the women had celebrating Easter. Two women and a man came to lead a service one a pastor that was recently laid off. The sermon was surprisingly touching, but my desire for a bit of hope in this space must have helped. The sermon had great messages to encourage the women to look in their hearts to see what types of behaviors and relationships they needed to let die so that they could be healthy. I confess I was surprised that I didn't hear a litany of sins they should address. Normally on street retreat I discover that the only people actually talking about faith with the homeless are much more conservative and literal than I happen to be. The creepy part of the service is that the man took the women aside in corners where they couldn't be seen for a hugging prayers that seemed a bit creepy (but possibly well intentioned).
This afternoon we also had a wonderful celebration of Carmen's 25th year as a Franciscan sister using things we found or begged for on the streets. From condom balloons to inflatable ostrich costumes it was an amazing time. It's the kind of creative celebration that is always possible, but doesn't always happen I'm such a busy world.
My feet (still on the same pair of socks) are very angry with me. They feel like the are going to crack each time I move them. Taking a shower this morning felt amazing, though it was hard to enjoy since I had to keep an eyeon my clothing so they didn't get stolen. While I'm still in the same clothes a new pair of underwear makes me feel clean. Publicly accessible bathrooms am showers are a vital health need for our communities. But this week I've learned that bathrooms aren't enough- toilet paper is also required!
One of the most needed items from our guests is bags: duffel bags, rolling bags, purses, backpacks. Carrying a bag all day and seeing the wear and tear a bag can go through helps me to see how crucial this necessity is. So got extra bags you don't need? Bring them or mail them to the Welcome Ministry (1751 Sacramento St, San Francisco CA 94109) along with adult clothing of all types.
Tonight I pray for everyone working towards recovery from addiction, affliction, health problems, failed relationships and failed thinking. God(dess) help us to let go of the past and to live in the present trusting firmly in support of the earth below us. Blessings upon blessings (Happy Passover)