Saturday, January 4, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 5

Stories from the Mission... bit 5
   The next few days where kind of a blur. They gave me clothing, a bag of toiletries and a top bunk up in dorm 3026. When I think of 3026 I think of the inside of a submarine with 60 guys and a skosh more room. It measures about 60x50 foot, it's hot and stuffy and well, there are a lot of sounds and smells that guys make while snoring and out the other end. Oddly enough, you get used to the smells after a week, but I'll never get used to the sounds.
  Rules, there are lots of rules, and they are needed. You are dealing with a bunch of guys that did it their way so much that most have lost everything, so we need structure.
   Dorm 3026, I call it the crucible. it is loud, stuffy and tight. I didn't sleep for the first few days. On the 4th night, a Sunday, my vision was blurry. I remember laying on my back, breathing fast and shallow, sweating. I stared at the cement ceiling just over my head, at a intersection of electrical conduit that formed a cross, and asked God if this is REALLY what he wanted of me? I now know a few things where coming together to test me. Years of a bad diet followed by a month of lousy food at Read had jammed my guts up. Something was going around the dorm as many guys had the trots to the bathroom, so I had a lot of pressure being built up in me. I was also going cold turkey from 5 anti-depression and anxiety meds, by my choice.I had trusted the medical Dr's for almost 30 years on that junk, and obviously it didn't work. That night the muscle spasms kicked in... they felt like a cattle prod to random parts of my body to the point where I could not sleep. My mind was racing at high speed, way too many tunnels it ran down to recall them now. I prayed the Lord would help me to sleep, but the best was yet to come. The bunk right behind me had a rather large fellow and he had a tremendous way of snoring. It sounded like a person was trying to start a chain saw next to my head, over and over. Really. I thought his lips would be hurting the next morning!  I laid there in disbelief for hours... presently people started getting up. The bunks we sleep in are sturdy and made of steel. Each one has a locker assigned to it at one end. For some reason these guys liked to slam them shut... every... single... time. And every time my eyes would pop open and adrenalin would shoot out of my finger tips. you can't change the other 59 guys... so you deal with it.
   I prayed the Lord that I would have the energy to do my job, and what do you know? Time came for me to get up and I felt better than I had in years, thank you Jesus! I really can't explain it beyond that. Oh, my job there is kinda humbling... I clean the toilets that 600 homeless guys use during the night before. Six months ago I thought I was some kind of world famous artist whose innovations where going to change the world, and now I'm doing what I barely did at my own condo. Boy, did I get smacked back to reality.
   On the 4th of July, it was steamy in the building. There are two overnight guest bathrooms at the end of one hall. Yeah, that is what they call the homeless that don't enter the Program, overnight guests. So, I'm still new and have to help this guy clean these nasty bathrooms that have guys still in them. He has been there a month longer than me and starts yelling at them to get out, we have to clean. I see them getting angry and tell them, it's ok, we will clean the one side that is empty and maybe they could shift over when we are done. They grumble at the other guy, and so I grab him bu the arm, gentleish, and tell him, "It's a toilet, I'm not getting shanked over a dirty toilet!"
   To get to where you are at the PGM, you must have some issues.

(Don't worry kind readers, there will be some uplifting stories sooner or later, lol. I'm transcribing this right from my notes with minimal editing. For now I think it's better to get it done than worry about how perfect it is.)

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