Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 17

   I had gone without food before, and this time I had only a cup of rice or unflavored oat meal a day for a month, so when they cut off my electricity and I lost my connection to the world, it was bad. I sat staring out a window with no food or power for 5 days. I listened to an old solar powered radio and barely existed. Somehow, the cell phone that had been cut off months before, still allowed 9/11 calls, so I flipped a coin and decided to make the call instead of killing myself. They take me to a hospital, then to Chicago Read. 33 days alter, after everyone I ever knew had turned their backs on me, the Dr. gives me a piece of paper with Pacific Garden missions address on it and they shove me out the door. It's special that they had me on suicide watch for a month and carefully handed me just the pills I needed every day, but then toss me out with more than enough meds to kill myself solid. My hair and beard hadn't been cut in months, the medications made me a zombie, people on the streets got out of my way... if they had only known how flimsy I was, hell, I was a drown rat. 4 hours later, after taking every wrong turn I could, I stumbled down the yellow brick road at the PGM, a blank slate. I won't lie, it wasn't easy, I was so weak I shook the entire rack when climbing up to my bunk. I remember staring up at the ceiling asking God, 'Are you sure this is what you want of me?' The ventilation in that dorm is weak, so you sweat yourself to sleep. 60 new brothers all in the same room with me... the sounds, the smells. So, like my Dad before me, I did what had to be done. I am now stronger, I no longer need the meds, I have no desire to get high. I still am not sure exactly where I am going, but I trust that the good Lord does.
   It's raining out, 9:30am so I'm inside where it's dark. Dang, too many people sleeping in the dorm to turn on the lights. Sunrise was awesome, blue/grey cumulus clouds with well defined top ed g  e   (Keep in mind, I am transcribing these notes as close as I can to what I originally wrote back then. This is where one of my pens died, lol) edges against a washed out slightly blue/ green sky. Some lower clumps, about 1000 feet up, moving very fast, getting hooked and dragged across the top of the Sears tower. they look to be the size of my outstretched fist, but in reality I know they are 600 foot blobs moving at like 100 MPH.
   So much in life is diplomacy, saying things to people in ways that doesn't harden their hearts, so t h  a   t (DANG, another pen went dry!) so that they don't just reject it right away.
   I've been working out on the deck buy lifting the ends of the heavy steel pick-nick tables they have on them. First few work outs made me sore for a few days, but I'm getting better. 16 more days till I can hit the weight room.
   7PM, bright sunshine lighting my writing and my reading. Joseph gave me a book, 'The Shack' to read today. A good, descriptive writer, but a bit depressing in the beginning.
   (Note to readers, I've skipped a lot of personal stuff in this bit. Maybe if I ever get paid to write this as a book, I might put it in, but for now... naw.)
   Simple pleasures. In here, I have no real money, and the meals are healthy and good. Still, compared to my old diet, they are very limited in serving size.I am down 25 pounds since I arrived here and while I do get the occasional hunger pangs, they are nothing like going 5 days of no food at all. So, as I'm sitting on my bunk just earlier, Vincent offered me a small handful of mixed nuts. In my old life this would have been a mouthful. Instead, this time I enjoyed each nut, appreciating the flavor and crunch. In my old life, I used to eat eat so much pizza that I'd have a hard time breathing. Then I'd wait 5 minutes and have another slice.. Sad really. I pray that once I get out of here I keep to the smaller meals.
   Last night on stage we had three pretty girls singing with us and I must say that hearing a female voice was intoxicating. After only hearing guys for the longest time, it was a really nice change. Another thing I like about stage is the open testimonial time. This is when the overnight guests (Homeless, but not in the program) get a chance to give thanks for things. It warms my heart to hear how some of them appreciate what God is giving us here. While many of the guys out in the audience are not paying attention, or are downright passed out with their heads bobbing around, some of them are genuinely here for the good word. After we sing a few hymns and one of us does a prayer, then another guy will go to the podium and ask for testimonies. Some guys are regulars, they stand up and do some pontificating, lol. Others will tell of something that befell them and how they got help. I've heard men say how they gave their life to Christ and the next day they will hear from family members they haven't seen in years. They audience it'self is split into two uneven parts. On the right is the men and on the left are the women. They strive to keep them separate and safe, but you'll always have the Romeos gazing across the isle, heh. I recall when I got up to do a testimony about how I had made it a month in the program, the applause I got was so encouraging! I hadn't realized that to them, we where something that they talked about.

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