Monday, January 20, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 21

   My sister Leslie sent me a really nice watch so now when I go out on walks I won't be late getting back, cool! She also sent me some socks. We get a ton of donations of things at the mission, but there are three things we don't that you might not think about. Socks, underwear and reading glasses. It's sad when an elder gentleman comes in wanting to read the Bible but can't due to his vision getting bad. In the time I was at the mission I knew 4 or 5 guys that couldn't read well or at all. One, JT is now working at another shelter and doing great. I helped a few of the others at times, reading the Bible with them out loud, letting them try and gently correcting what they got wrong. It was very rewarding, and I know how embarrassing it must have been for them. How hard it must have been for them to get through life without the basics like reading.
   There is a strange period here in 3026 every night when the day light gets too low to read and they haven't turned on the ceiling lights. I suppose it's our own kind of twilight.
   Unwritten rules chiseled in stone around here last until the next tide washes them away... that is until they come back to trip a person they don't like.
      Wow, did a stage for the over flow crowd (there are two places for Stage, one if the main auditorium and the overflow is in the day room), and I was was asked to go to the podium to ask for testimonials. No one stood up, so I decided to give one myself. My voice was full of confidence and a volume I didn't know I had... if felt great, almost to euphoria! The next thing I know, 7 of the overnight guests had given theirs and we would have run short on time for the preacher, lol. The Spirit was definitely flowing!
   Ok, just got done talking with Ralph at the sinks and he told me I have an interesting voice. Then he asked me if I've ever done radio. I've always thought my voice was odd, if anything, he has the voice and countenance for radio.
   I am reading my first C.S. Lewis book, 'the great divorce'. I am digging his style! It is nothing Like I thought it would be, very surreal.
   I've got to say, we have them in every shape and size here. Lil Nate can't weigh more than 100 pounds soaking wet, then there is Timmy, Damon and Ed, all in the 400 pound class. It used to be I was one of the biggest guys where I hung out, now I'm just in the top third. There are a loot of guys with hair shaved down tight or bald, the short hair showing the scars of growing up in bad neighborhoods. One night in the auditorium I spotted 7 guys in front of me with scars or knots on the backs of their heads. They kind of look like coin slots. I count myself lucky that I didn't grow up in an area where that kind stuff happened much. There was that one night on 3026 where a guy walked around yelling that he was going to stab Scott in his sleep and got thrown out of the Mission, but by and large it's just guys woofin at each other. Some of the guys here are right off the street from gangs or prisons, but they seem to realize it's not the same thing here, they want to change. I know 4 guys from Englewood, a really bad part of the south side of Chicago by their own admission. Two of them, Steve and Cleveland, are totally cool, not thugs at all. Of the other two, Reggie just acts loud and all and then there is Ed. Ed is an odd little guy that loves fancy clothes and repeats catch phrases way too much.
   On my walk today I stumbled across the U.I.C. campus. It's situated in what used to be the Maxwell street market, a very gritty open air street flea market famous for Blues music and interesting characters. Now it seems to be mainly populated with long haired, shorts wearing, adorable Asian women that are completely blind to me, lol.

1 comment: