Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleep Well - Shelter Week - Day 2

Tonight, 83 people are sleeping in Fellowship Hall, which was our original sanctuary at this campus, and is the sleeping area for our guests during our hosting week for the rotating shelter.

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.

Sleep Well!

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.


shirley said...

That is such a moving thing to be able to help. I'm so proud & humbled for people like you, to help out in such a great way. God Bless you & the people around you. Prayers for all. Baird

Deborah Carter said...

Servant Leadership at its finest! God bless you and Renaissance Unity Church. Your shelter service and kindness to others reminds me of the quote: "Let your Reach exceed your Grasp; what else is a heaven for."

Priscilla Pearn said...

Like Deborah Carter said "Servant Leadership at its FINEST"

Debbie Maman Lopucki said...

I am so thankful for a roof over my head, a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in and loving and supportive family and friends. One of my most favorite things in my life is to be able to help others. I am so thankful that I was allowed the privilege to help out in some small way. God’s Blessings to all who opened their heart and helped make this week a success.