Wednesday, May 20, 2015

1 Week on the Streets - April 27th

April 27th

TGIM!  Monday morning I woke up at 5:45 am.  Words cannot describe how excited I was to wake up and head on over to The Gubbio Project.  Finally I was going to be able to "sleep in" and get some rest indoors.  I carried my sleeping bag over my shoulders because I didn't want to waste time rolling it up; didn't want to risk not getting a pew!

One of the major lessons I learned on this retreat is that the streets have their own schedule.  No matter how well I planned my days out, to make it to lunch or for our reflections, something always happened that would make it hard to follow my plans.  It made me realize how hard it must be for our guests to follow through with their plans.

After getting some sleep that morning I decided it was a good day to take a shower.  It was really hot out that day, I already hadn't showered or changed in 3 days, and my clothes were extra stinky from getting soaked Friday night.  I had to walk all the way to MSC South to shower.  MSC South is San Francisco's largest overnight shelter and has the worst reputation; I was a little nervous going there.  Other than the long walk it was an okay experience.  I arrived at the shelter, asked if I could take a shower and did.  I'm not sure if I expected the water to be cold or if it just felt really good because I hadn't showered in a while but it felt amazing standing underneath the hot water.  I was taking my time until I remembered I left my bag in an unlocked locker behind the front desk.  Because of the long walk I missed our morning reflection.

On the walk back I decided to stop by the St. Vincent DePaul Wellness Center, where one of my housemates worked.  The Wellness Center was closing that week so I wanted to show up at least once to show my support.  Luckily for me, they were getting ready to serve lunch when I got there and she invited me to stay.  I had made plans earlier to get lunch with someone else at St. Anthony's but I could not pass up Italian Take-Out.  

That afternoon, after lunch, someone I know from Glide approached me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of a focus group; he told me I would get paid $30 dollars.  He knew that I wasn't really homeless and told me it would be a good experience for me to see how a lot of people that are actually homeless make some money.  He said "come half an hour early, 2:00 pm".  I told him that I would be there.  2:00 pm was two hours away so I decided to take a nap.  I reassured myself that I would wake up on time.  I didn't.  I woke up at 2:30 pm and ran out the church.  As I was running I slipped on dog poop right outside the church; almost fell face first.  I still had my flip flops on from my shower earlier, so now there was poop all over my foot, in between my toes, and all over my shoe.  I was 30 minutes late but he still let me sit in.


Because of the focus group and our evening reflection I didn't have time to get in line for dinner.  However, as I was walking towards Civic Center, where we met for reflection, I saw the Sisters of Mother Theresa giving food away from the back of their car.  I asked them if I could get a bag.

"Faith, it does not make things easy, it makes them possible." Luke 1:37 

That night as I was laying down waiting to fall asleep, I was reflecting on my hectic day.  I thought "I can't believe how hard it is to make it to things.  How much time it takes to walk from one place to another.  How such a small detail in the day can change the rest of the day."  I was taken aback that it was hectic for me, hectic for someone who doesn't struggle with addiction and who is currently mentally composed.      

I thought of one guest who is now a good friend of mine, she is always excited to tell me when she has a shelter bed for the night.  I always say to her "okay, make sure you make it on time for check in".  The next day she always tell me she missed it and had to sleep outside again.  Now it has gotten to the point to where she tells me she's excited to sleep inside, I tell her to to get there early so she doesn't miss her chance, and the next day she tells me she missed it again.  I always got frustrated on the inside.  But now I know that the streets have their own schedule.

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