Thursday, June 4, 2015

1 Week on the Streets - April 29th

Wednesday... it's finally Wednesday!... Wednesday... It's only Wednesday?...  Wednessssssdaaayyyy

Wednesday was tough.  The minutes were starting to turn into hours.  The hours were starting to turn into days.  And the days were starting to turn into weeks.  I felt like it was never going to end.  I felt like I had been on the streets forever!  I felt that way.  Me.  Someone who had only been on the streets for five days, in a structured way, with an end date.  The emotional and mental toll on me was really taking off.  I can't imagine the mental and emotional toll people who actually experience homelessness go through.

The Fraternite Notre Dame Sisters were serving lunch that day so I decided to eat there.  Three of us made our way there after our morning reflection.  When we arrived the line wasn't that long.  It was really hot outside though.  Standing in line, underneath the sun, carrying three bags, wearing two layers of clothing, on top of being mentally and physically tired, is not fun.  I kept telling myself that the line was going to go quick; and that I would have my food in no time.  I was wrong.  We stood in line for more than an hour.  The way the line for food was setup was confusing.  I guess there was one line for able-bodied people and another line for disable-bodied people.  From what I saw, people were taking advantage of one line because they all got their food quicker and were able to take it to go.  While the people in my line just waited.  I was beyond frustrated.  I had to look at the ground and distract myself at one point so I wouldn't say anything to the people organizing the lines and the people cutting the lines.  "Almost there.  Almost there.  Almost there."

I got my food.  And I rat out of there!  I literally bolted out of there.  I didn't want to sit and eat there.  I wanted to run out of the city.   I had all my bags in one hand and the plate of food in the other.  I ran to St. Boniface.  I didn't care that I was jay walking, cutting in between cars, that food was falling off my plate, and that my hand was getting sticky.  I needed to get somewhere where I could just sit and breathe.  The second I walked through the gates of the church the entire city got quiet.  I no longer heard things like cars honking and people selling drugs.  I felt like I had been holding my breathe for the last two hours and now I was breathing the finest air in the world.  I sat in the church's courtyard and enjoyed my food; there was a lot of meat again.

"Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, and forgiven." - Pope Francis


Once I finished eating I decided I needed to get out of the Tenderloin for the day.  I needed to escape the cloud of so many different injustices.  I made my way to Golden Gate Park and stayed there.  At the park I put all my stuff down, put on some shorts, took off my shoes and socks, and soaked in the sun.  I tried my best to relax.  I wrote a letter to my girlfriend, did some reading, and even took a nap.  Even though I was physically out of the Tenderloin, my mind was stuck in the state of discomfort.

I skipped dinner to stay in the park longer; but I finally had to make my way back for our evening reflection.  Fortunately for me, a friend of the Fools made all of us some chicken noodle soup.  She also brought us bread and sprite.  I felt like a king eating on the grass.        

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