(The mission of the Men’s Shelter is to provide safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man)
I went back to the Men’s Shelter on Friday night.
The weather forecast was predicting Snowmageddon’17, not a night to be out on the streets.
My job was to check everyone in. Like all new skills, it was easier this second time. I discovered that after entering the bed number, and scanning their special ID, the computer gave me the name. Now I was able to welcome each client by using their name. That felt good to me, I hope it felt good to them.
The shelter has a winter overflow program allowing 50 extra clients to sleep on mats in the cafeteria when the weather is bad.
I got anxious the closer I got to the 50 cut off.
There were still so many in line.
My boss told me to keep checking people in – so that’s what I did. We didn’t talk about it, but I’m sure we went over the limit. Later, when my boss was asked what time the men would need to leave the warm building in the morning, he replied, “Well, maybe with this bad weather, we’ll all just stay inside tomorrow.”
Then he smiled.
Sunday morning, as I sit in my warm home, after a good night’s sleep, I’m thinking about my new friends.
Why am I in here and they’re out there?
Does that idea bother you the way it does me?
Yes, I know all the answers about substance abuse, about mental illness, and the rest, but I also think, “There but for the grace of God…”
Reading the paper this morning, I learn Pope Francis is urging the faithful to find God on the edges, not in the palaces. Does the Pope give me my answer?