Friday, February 14, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 46

   One of the great things about this place is seeing the cool side of a guy suddenly. I mean, you know that they are decent and all, but to see a beautiful side come a round, a deeper connection to God, a part you'd be proud to emulate in yourself. Mississippi is a good guy, full of energy and a happy accent from down in his nick name going on. When he first started here at the mission, I asked him if he had ever been up here for a winter, to which he replied he hadn't. I laughed and told him what I tell all the guys from down south, "You're gonna freeze yer sin off!" I've always enjoyed his company and helped him one time when he was going through a rough patch and talking of leaving. Then, today, he said a prayer and it wasn't a basic, get it out of the way thing, but more like he was greeting some close old friends. It was heartwarming in appeals for healing, sincere in asking for help, and afterwords said how he loves to fellowship with the guys. Coolness y'all!
  Been doing some more thinking... I know I have the basic male problem of looking at women in a way that is lustful. I see a cute girl here and my mind so easily goes off into the ruts it used to know, the ruts that this society encourages you to do at every chance. It's become a foreign to try and not look at women that way, an odd thought in this day and age, who could it hurt? Looking back at the dozens of relationships I've had that started that way, it has hurt me and all the women I've known that way, just keeping it real now.  Heck, in other areas, I've had to rewire what I thought gave me joy, like I can never get stoned again, I can never drink again, I know how that is such a slippery slope for me, just writing it I could hear the battle in my head. Oh go ahead, go smoke some buds, get a bottle, you'll be able to handle it... but no, I know where that road leads... it led HERE. I do have the luxury of knowing that a year or two from now I will be free to look for a wife, which brings me to a new found compassion for the gay guys at the mission that choose to walk this path.
   There was a big gap in my journal here, if you notice the time tag. Being an I.C. wasn't easy for me at all. I've never been a boss before, so I probably don't have the skills yet in those areas. Then there is the idea that many of these guys are right out of prisons, street gangs and worse, they didn't want to listen to anyone tell them what to do in the old life, even with guns aimed at them. Simple things like having a staff member tell me to never clean the windows with newspapers as it scrapes the glass into swirls, and then me relating that to these guys became me saying they didn't know how to clean windows. I could handle that stuff a few times a week, but it became 5 times a day. Then, every time I'd have a guy come around and back me, he would get transferred to another department. Finally Pastor Green had a sit down with me and the entire crew to air things out. I sat back and let them have their say as they shot themselves in the foot one after another. Pastor then brought up what I had even thought of. He told them how he had been watching, and hearing from staff all over the building. He laid it right out, was it because I am white? The room got quiet. I had been thinking it was a real thing, that I had been not relating right, and didn't think it'd be as stupid as my color. So, to break the ice, Pastor said to me, "Now Zackary", he and my Mom are the only two people to ever use my full name often," Zackary, you do know that when they are doing stuff right you have to let them know." Here he was throwing them a bone, and two spoke right up saying, yeah, he does that all the time, lol.
  It all looked like it was going to be ok after that meeting, my foreman and I had a talk and he was sorry. Then, the next day, Pastor transferred my foreman. All I could think is that this was going to keep repeating. I saw how if I was an I.C. for the next 7 months, there would be a steady flow of new guys coming off the street, constantly attacking me. That was it, the great experiment was over, I'm glad I learned what it's like to be a boss, but I don't want to be one. Some guys love it, they take right to the power of being able to, as one said, step on their necks, but I don't. I had to talk with Pastor a few more times, and then he transferred me to the transportation department., the best department to be in here.
   Pacific garden mission feeds, clothes and sleeps around 650 people a night. That takes a lot of food to accomplish, and we don't get any money form the government. Most of the donations are from people that listen to the radio show Unshackled around the world, but there are also a lot of people that drive up every day to make donations of clothes, furniture and toys for the kids. Most of the food gets donated by restaurants all over the city, and that is where the transportation department comes in. we have a cube truck and three vans that spend they days heading out all over the town, stopping at Starbucks, Chipotles, Pizza huts and other places that donate the food that is from the day before. In each van will be a driver and a runner, and have it's own route to follow each day. Load up around 30 empty blue trays in the back, grab some black plastic garbage bags, pray in and head out. After being inside that mission for 22 hours a day for the last 7 months, this was a revelation!

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