Monday, March 26, 2012
Sleep Well - Shelter Week - Day 2
While we were setting up Sunday afternoon, one of our members asked, "When do they bring the cots?" There are no cots and not all the churches provide the foam pads.
Imagine sleeping on a 8'x2'x1/2" piece of foam insulation board centered within a 4'x8' space. There is clingy plastic covering the carpet under your pad and another person within an arms reach. The You receive two blankets and a pillow (which is inside a plastic bag and covered with a pillow case) on your first night at this location for your use all week. The bedding is washed every Sunday morning and delivered to the next church.
There is a row of sleeping spaces that are filled by people who get up from the floor and head out, many at 4 am in order to catch a bus and go to work.
This second evening was much more relaxed, or perhaps I was more relaxed. We had a sense of what to expect and what our duties were. I was able to turn my attention from seemingly endless check lists and double checking the status of many things and just be present with our guests. I was reminded first hand of how really listening to another person is a great gift to them and to me.
Marvin asked for prayer and when he found me asked if I would pray that he find a good roommate and a place to live. As I listened, he explained that he injured his back he receive's Social Security Disability but cannot afford a place by himself. He had been living with his daughter and son-in-law in a house they were paying the rent to the owner of the home however the owner had stopped paying the mortgage and the mortgage holder had foreclosed. Marvin's daughter and her husband went to stay with his parents and Marvin found his way to our church, It was his first night in a shelter. He told me that the Lord had led him and he was trusting God to help him get back on his feet. He said he wanted to find a roommate who was a christian and not a drinker. He also said he's like to meet a good woman and get married again. Marvin is probably in his mid 40's.
David came to Detroit last summer because job prospects are better here than in Milwaukee. David had lost his job after a long illness which depleted his savings because he had no insurance. David is trying to get some traction to get back into the workforce and pull his life together at 61.
John has been out of work for two years. After exhausting his unemployment benefits and what he had saved he was not able to pay the rent on his apartment so his landlord left home a voice message that he had to move and then the deputy sheriff came and told he he had 5 days to vacate the premises
I am going to bed in a few minutes on a mattress with sheets and a blanket, in another room of my home in total privacy. A mattress I had complained was lumpy, old and uncomfortable last week. It doesn't seem nearly so uncomfortable to me now.
PS - I got up early to go back to serve breakfast at the end of this "shelter day" and the count had increased by 6 new guests brought in by various police departments in the course of the night for a total of 89.
Back home again for a nap before we gt ready for our guests again this evening. It occurs to me that I have many choices about where I might nap. In my bed, recliner, the upstairs or downstairs sofa. With a grateful heart, I am heading for the upstairs sofa with my pillow and a humbled heart.
On the Way ...
Copyright (c) 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights reserved.