Monthly Archives: December 2011

cool, thanks.

When thinking about planning for 125 (see previous entries if you don’t know what that is), I try to combine creativity and interactiveness (I think I might have just made that word up) with Bible lessons that the kids will remember for at least a day after we teach them. So, awhile ago, when we talked about Joseph being in prison, we cut out/colored paper bars to put on the window. This was hilarious to me until the next day when a 6-year-old told her mom that it was because, “all we did was learn about what it’s like to be in jail.” Clearly that was not as good of an idea as I originally thought…

People are funny.

Whenever a new person/family checks in, I try to assess how their stay here is going to be.  After almost 6 months, I am still only occasionally really good at this.  One of those times was last week, when a woman and her enormous fur coat  showed up at midnight.  When the policeman dropping her off described her as being “preachy”, that didn’t register in my half-asleep brain.  But within seconds of meeting her, I knew I was in for a real treat.  She began telling me all about how she was pregnant with twins because she was “the chosen one” and how she wouldn’t be able to sleep in a room near other women because they would try to steal “him” away from her.

Based on other things she said, I’m pretty sure she was talking about Jesus, but I didn’t know how to reasonably explain to her that Jesus is shareable (again, a word I possibly just invented).  She tried to convince me to let her sleep in the office beneath the Christmas tree because “He would like that. He loves Christmas, and trees.  Everything I say can be backed up by Scripture.”  At this point, I figured I could either ask her to show me where in the Bible it says that, or just give her a blanket and explain that I’d be unable to accommodate her wishes.  I chose the latter, at which point she said, “You’re lucky I don’t have my flaming sword right now.”

I’m not sure it was luck I was feeling at that moment…but I do know that I was real careful not to have my back to her from that point on.

A few days later, a woman staying here told me repeatedly that I’m “the nicest skinny person” she’s ever met.  I am never quite sure how to respond to comments like that, so I usually just laugh nervously and thank them questioningly (thanks…?).

But I mean, between that and not being hacked into bits by fiery weapons, I’d say I had a pretty darn good week.


love it.

I love my job.

And while I do often have to say that out loud to remind myself (sometimes every 5 minutes…), it’s true.  It’s almost as though God knew what He was doing when He put me here…hmm.  I’ll have to keep thinking about that one.

Seriously, though, I get to build relationships with people all day, every day.  Yeah, some of those people are crazy, but that just serves to make my job even better at times.  And by better, I mean unpredictable.

There is a woman who comes to the Mission often.  Not to check in or anything, but just to hang out.  And by hang out, I mean yell.  More recently, she’s been unable to make the trek for whatever reason, so she has resorted to yelling at us over the phone.  The topics range from her apartment flooding every time it rains (I solved this by reading her the weather report.  We didn’t have rain in the forecast for weeks.) to people following her to whether or not drug tests are actually pregnancy tests (they’re not, in case you were wondering).  Sometimes she hangs up on us because she doesn’t like our answer, and then calls right back…maybe she thinks we’ll have changed our mind in that short time, I’m not sure.

We have found that we can predict her level of rationality by looking at her hair.  As strange as that sounds, it’s been found to be pretty darn accurate.  Her hair is neat and pulled back?  Good to go.  She’s wearing a hat that looks like she found it on the street right before she walked in?  Danger!  That means get ready to spend a good hour listening and nodding at what are hopefully appropriate times.  The conversation could go any which way, and chances are high that everyone involved will be incredibly confused at the end.

But here’s the thing.  As much as I joke about trying to get off the phone with her as fast as possible (My current record is under 4 minutes. She asked me about tax fraud, a subject which I legitimately know almost nothing about.), part of me understands what she’s about.  Because really, don’t we all just want to be listened to and validated?  The answer is yes, in case you’re unsure.  There is something in us that aches for the approval of other people, and this woman is just much more forthright about it than the average (and mentally stable) person.

Thus, I remind myself-again-that this is why I’m here.  I wanted to work with people who, among other things, just want to be listened to.  So whether it’s listening to an angry rant about corporate America or a rambling narrative about various bus stops, I’m ready.  And in the meantime, I’m getting the best hands-on lesson in patience ever!