Saturday, August 20, 2005

9th St.

She was lying on her filthy bed with her closest companions, her cats, milling about the room. A half empty bottle of cheap beer still in her hand as she lay passed out. It was an extremely hot central valley day but she wore a coat. She is mostly inside of herself when she’s awake but as I looked on her sleeping with her motel room door open and the window left wide I was glad she was having this moment of peace. Sleep is rest for the body and a troubled mind. I left the prepared bag of bread and pastries inside the door on a little cluttered table. We try to leave things we know she likes. I realized then that I am just one face in this window. I am here maybe twice a week but she is always here. The realities I see and break over are hers all the time whether I witness them or not.

There is another woman in this motel in a wheel chair. She has a big dog for friendship and safety. He’s quite protective of his mistress so I only see her for a brief minute each week. A knock, then boisterous barking, a shouting match between her and the dog, then the door opens and we hand her a bag of food (she prefers chocolate cookies), “God bless you, Evelyn.”, “Thank you , you too”. and that’s it. Just a face in her door bringing what I can.

This is not enough. More and more, we are being pulled down to 9th Street. We now schedule to go twice a week. But even beyond that we need to engage in real relationships here in the most forgotten place in our town. No lunch truck comes by here. No park for the kids to play. The traffic is fast down 9th. The motels are surrounded by auto shops, trailer parks and vacant lots. It is not a nice place to be. No grass, just unforgiving concrete and broken glass. The working girls walk up and down past the 7 year old girl who has been sent to the store to get something for her drug addicted mother.

Please pray for 9th Street. Pray for us. Pray that God would help us find more ways to engage this toxic neighborhood with his grace, forgiveness and love.

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