Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 40

   Did I mention that my bunk-mate Timmy got here by hopping a freight train? He is the second hobo I have met here. The first was a guy that thought he was frank Sinatra, he had an easy going, devil may care attitude and always dressed crisp like an old movie star. He explained to me how he hopped a boxcar somewhere in California and rode it to Chicago. Along the way, he spent three days non stop in the mountains, cold and lonely, with only an opossum skull on a stick to keep him company that he named bone head. His plan was to get his feet wet here in Chicago and then move on to New York. He and another guy got throw out of the program after he got caught stealing the other guys cigarets. I saw him again about a month later as an overnighter, said he was thinking of coming back, but never did.
   Timmy, on the other hand, came here by faith. See, a few years ago he met some hobos and traveled with them and learned from them on the east coast. Sitting here at the bunk, he just told me how you'd hide near a bend in the line, watch as the engine goes out of sight and then run for an open car. He emphasized that you have to jump, get your feet off the ground, before you grab onto the train or you will fall under the train, maybe under the wheels. Timmy related to me how he had ridden a train to Chicago once before from where he was from, Pittsburgh, so to get there this time he was at the same spot and time. Still, they don't post on the train where each is going in plain view, so he had to have full faith in the Lord to guide him right. Tim cracks me up in that he sometimes talks sideways, crunching his eyes like it pains him to say stuff. He has a great ability to memorize things, within the first week he had the whole Romans road down, and he can draw! He has a natural talent that I am trying to encourage, he doesn't see it, but I do.
   It's strange, after all this time here and all the things I have learned about God, I still have dark thoughts of ending it. Maybe because I have come so close so many times in the past, it is a worn thin spot in the floor of my mind.
   And now to lighten it up with some ramblings, lol.  Sneezes are Hilarius! you can't control how you do them and there is so much variety to them. cats are all cool, calm and collected, then explode a few times, lick and go back to Joe cool. Dogs just blast your bare leg and then get happy you noticed them. Guys sneezing can make me laugh when I can't even hear them, lol. In the courtyard here at the mission are 12 river birches, very pretty and all, but not the best selection for the middle of the cement jungle. Each one has a bag near the base that they fill with water occasionally to keep them alive. It's nice to come out to study in the courtyard, surrounded by the trees and four walls of the mission. There is a sun dial in the middle, donated by the builder, and it shows the right time. On Saturday, while working with the new guy Joysay (Spelled Jesus, but that's not how he pronounces it), we sand 'Amazing grace' all the way through while cleaning the transients bathroom. I've seen time and again, how guys in bad situations can somehow stay happy.
   Well, got 10 hours sleep last night, had no stage or search for a long time, so now after a month of hell, I'm starting to feel better. I feel like all my high points that give me trouble have been filed off. I just hope I haven't lost my joy.
   Pastor Green has his time in the morning, right after Pastor Bower teaches, for about 45 minutes. Some guys call it the scolding, and the guys that say that, need it, lol. He will slowly make his way to the podium, look out at us all as the guys all sit up in the seats, trying to look awake. he will talk about following the rules, how you're doing it for God and not your I.C. I've heard him take on gangs, by name, saying how they have no place in here and he will throw them out if they try to recruit. At times he will read a letter he has received, sad news of a guy that was doing so good, then got some money, ran out, got his old habit and was found dead in a motel room alone. Other times he will relate what he learned in his devotions that morning, Bible verses that stood out to him and how they relate to this day and age. We've laughed as he acts out some bit of a story, his facial expressions, as he turns his body to one side, looking at us, are priceless! And sometimes, near the end of class, he will get very serious about infractions that have occurred, leaning over the podium, glaring out to make sure he makes eye contact with those he knows are guilty. He will let one and all know that he will throw people out if it continues... then smile hugely and say, "Jesus loves you." An amazing man, well suited for a rough crowd, gotta love him.

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