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thanksgiving

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You’re all welcome to read this, but this is really for my discernment committee. They were wonderful at the time, and their work with me and for me continues to grow.

You sent me to actually do street ministry, because you weren’t sure I could “leave behind my CV.” I was pretty sure you were wrong; I talk to all kinds of people every day in my work, of all varieties of background and education. But they come to me, I don’t go to them.

I was right — I can talk to people leaving the CV behind. I think I’ve done the leave behind part (people have asked, and I’ve explained that part of my learning here is to do so without any credential but baptism; that I’m a postulant; that I hope to begin street ministry where I am). But I’ve gained so much that I would not have done if we’d left it as “yes, I can.”

I’ve had amazing conversations with people on Boston Common, on Copley Square, at common art, before and after common cathedral. And without your sending me, I wouldn’t know Amy’s story, nor Hector’s, nor Gary’s, nor Michael’s, nor Brenda’s, that’s just the names I remember. I wouldn’t have heard Tina talking to Shaggy, and heard Shaggy come around, slowly, to maybe he will write again to the person he was living with. Or maybe not. He guided us to the bus terminal, so we could put Gary on a bus to someplace on the Cape, where he had a friend and a job. Three months off heroin, and he wants to stay off and rebuild. He told me about his life, and his time in treatment and rehab, and how he wants to leave Boston and return to where he has friends. Hector told me about losing his father a short time after they reconciled, then his wife two years later, and then “everything.” Sometimes gets medicine for depression, sometimes his doctor says, “Hector, you just lose it on the street.” Today there was a policeman (on a bicycle), asking who was looking out for Tommy, very drunk already and out on the grass. They all said they would, he’d be ok sleeping it off. OK, said the policeman, I don’t want him to get hit by a Duck Tour. And he left, and let the guys sit there, and their very-intoxicated, very out friend sleeping on the grass. That’s just some of what I would not have heard if I had not come.

But that’s not all I would have missed. I have never been much for Bible study; I did not want to listen to what other people had to say, “exchanging ignorance” might have been my unspoken thought. Now I’ve been to Gospel Reflections on Sunday afternoons, and to a newly-formed “Nourish your Spirit” group that is reading the Gospel of John in the midst of a small communion service. Well, some of what is said is hard to follow — but this is different from some parts of the Bible just how?. Much is not what I would have thought, or thought of, but this is a good thing. And much is amazing and wonderful. I am, in fact, going to steal some of what was said last Sunday when I do a sermon for common cathedral the last Sunday I’m here.

Finally — for now — I would have missed seeing two movies I’d never have gone to or rented on my own; The Simpsons and The Corpse Bride. common cinema is doing an animation series; next week is a Japanese anime movie, which will be another first. The movie is shown with popcorn, soft drinks, and a lot of coming and going, but mostly people sit, watch, laugh, and seem to enjoy it. I have.

I am sure there is more to learn and do — it’s May 16th; I have 13 more days. Thank you for the challenge, for being the continuing call to grow into this service.

(the photo is the walkway I take everyday alongside the monastery towards Harvard Square and the subway)

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