Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day two: seeking shelter from the shelter

I'm writting from inside the shelter. After a long day that began with preaching at the Swedenborgian congregation. Palm Sunday's beautiful combination of glory/honor and impending suffering seems the perfect pairing of my day. I am highly aware of my privledge on this journey. In fact I'm getting paid to do this and got paid to preach this morning. And I'm aware from the pain on the other women's faces that there us a world of difference between my experience and theirs. And yet the pain in my back, neck and feet is still very real. So with humility I write tonight out of the experience that is mine in hopes that it sparks compassion and new insights in others.

Tonight I was aware that I was entering something beyond my comfort. Upon arriving at the shelter I got nothing but yelling. The staff was angry we had been sent there and made the physically younger of us carry our mats downstairs. The yelling caused me to flee. I had to get out and take a break before the 10:00 curfew. Don't get me wrong, I'm used to getting yelled at. And I can certainly take it, but I couldn't take it that in the midst of such obvious fear and vulnerability that there could be such anger from those charged with keeping us safe.

Yesterday two of my friends from the Welcome Ministry burst into tears when they saw me, because they said everyone else was mean to them. I think tonight I would burst into tears if I was able to get a hug from Pastor Megan too. I know there are others out there who work with compassion and kindness in unimaginable conditions, but tonight on this mat it doesn't really feel that way.

Sleep well tonight all. Prayers to all (indoors and out) that don't feel safe as they try to sleep tonight. May the God(dess) who steals horses to ride through town on the way to greet a lynch mob protect us all - from the lowest mats, to the highest astronauts!

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