Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 44

 I'm looking out the window at the end of the hall, it faces north, towards the south end of the Chicago loop as it rises like the other side of a valley. There is something so magical about seeing a flock of birds, probably sea gulls, soaring in a group about 20 stories up off in the distance. The haze of a mile gave scale to the distance, with the buildings forming a cliff behind them, as they climb from what might have been a meal, they make their way between some towers, off to do what birds do. I've seen birds above the beaches of Florida, streaking along from one end of my vision to the other, intent on getting somewhere, on a mission, lol. So many details in that skyline of Chicago to take in... I long for the day when I can stand on one of those lofty balconies in the morning with a cup of coffee warming my hand as the cool breezes bring in the morning air from the lake.
   Now that I am foreman, guys that used to walk right by me are saying my name and overnight guests are giving me fist bumps. Big deal, lol, I just make sure guys clean toilets in a homeless shelter right, lol. I suppose it's like any other place, gossip runs fast and maybe it's like sports teams, people like to know rankings.
   Pastor Green talked about starting prayer groups at class today, so I mentioned it to Fred. So far, he, Ron and Richard want to do it, but work schedules conflict a lot. I suggested we name groups by the time they meet and go to the ones we can. From time to time, prayer circles will pop up in random places. I've seen it happen a few times in 3026, 4 or 5 guys will start, and others will jump in, holding hands, eyes closed, heads bowed and prayers said, asking for help to get through, help for those who have left and peace between a lot of hard heads.
   Chris, the guy that started the same day as me, is officially gone now. He got a job and took off... gonna miss him. He could do impressions of most of the pastors, really funny. I felt like I could always go to him about things, but that is the nature of this place, guys come and go. I went over to look at his empty bunk and commiserate with the guy that has the bunk across from him, Richard. Now Richard is a nice gentleman of about my age, he started the program about two months after me and is not irritating, which is to say, he hasn't pulled attention to himself here. Then, one day after noon stage, he showed me his deeper side. we are supposed to come off the main stage after services and head to a prayer room across the hall in case any of the overnighters needs some help, needs the good word, or best of all, wants to be saved. unfortunately, many of the program men are too new and shy, or they have been here too long and have become jaded. Give them a chance to pray out and run, they will. On this day we didn't even get a chance to pray out... in a whirlwind I found myself watching them all leave the room except for Richard and one forlorn older man. Richard was holding both his hands, their heads bowed as he said some words of comfort, praying for the mans difficulties. I walked over, setting one hand on Richards back, and the other on the overnight guests back and dropped my head in prayer with them. Rich may be short in stature, but huge in heart. the three of us talked for a bit, then headed off for lunch of some pizza and soup. As we walked down the hall, he related to me how that was the most important thing we could do here, to do Gods will and to help the less fortunate. Since that day I have made it a point to notice Richard more.
   So, back to sitting on the bunk, talking about Chris who left, I could see that Richard was struggling with some old plastic framed glasses. I asked him if he could even see them, and he laughed and said he was having a hard time. My mechanics side took over and I had a look. The hinges where missing many pieces and he had no money for new ones. Then it occurred to me, I still had my old ones! I popped back to my bunk, grabbed them and brought them back to Richard, and sure enough, he can read with them just fine! So often, even when we have almost nothing, we need to keep our eyes open to the possibilities of ways to help. Richard even had a tie that worked well with a green shirt I had, heh.
   One day in class, the pastor asked for a show of hands from the guys that used to smoke Crack and 15 hands went up. The guys I knew had been clean for at least a month now and it kind of surprised me. I had always been under the impression that Crack was a try it once and hooked till death kind of thing. For so many to be able to kick it here and not being going through any obvious withdraws is a testament to Gods healing powers!
   During search last night an overnighter dropped a Crack pipe... it looked to me like a broken off Bic pen. Earl got excited, lol, and kept saying things like, did you see that missile? That thing was H.E. tipped!
   On a note to the readers of my blog, I see according to the stats I have over 30 of you within a few days of posting each piece. Thank you!

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