Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Down to the Wire

About 31 hours and we close the books on 2010, as of this writing.
You intended to help out. Every time you drive or walk past a homeless person, you feel the urge to do something.
But. Well, we all get busy.
Last night Operation Nightwatch helped 162 people get inside. It was 24 degrees.
It costs us $8.42 per person per night. Will you be a part of the Nightwatch miracle this year?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christ Climbed Down

CHRIST climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no rootless Christmas trees
hung with candy canes and breakable stars

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
there were no gilded Christmas trees
and no tinsel Christmas trees
and no tinfoil Christmas trees
and no pink plastic Christmas trees
and no gold Christmas trees
and no black Christmas trees
and no powderblue Christmas trees
hung with electric candles
and encircled by tin electric trains
and clever cornball relatives

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no intrepid Bible salesmen
covered the territory
in two-tone cadillacs
and where no Sears Roebuck creches
complete with plastic babe in manger
arrived by parcel post
the babe by special delivery
and where no televised Wise Men
praised the Lord Calvert Whiskey

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no fat handshaking stranger
in a red flannel suit
and a fake white beard
went around passing himself off
as some sort of North Pole saint
crossing the desert to Bethlehem
in a Volkswagon sled
drawn by rollicking Adirondack reindeer
with German names
and bearing sacks of Humble Gifts
from Saks Fifth Avenue
for everybody's imagined Christ child

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and ran away to where
no Bing Crosby carollers
groaned of a tight Christmas
and where no Radio City angels
iceskated wingless
thru a winter wonderland
into a jinglebell heaven
daily at 8:30
with Midnight Mass matinees

Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
this year
and softly stole away into
some anonymous Mary's womb again
where in the darkest night
of everybody's anonymous soul
He awaits again
an unimaginable and impossibly
Immaculate Reconception
the very craziest
of Second Comings

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Friday, December 17, 2010

Man's Best Friend by Homeless Poet

This is from the Homeless Poet, given to me at 10 pm last night:

"When I was young I had a dog. The dog went everywhere with me and we were very close. You could say that the dog and I were best friends. And I remember someone told me that "the dog is man's best friend." And at the time that made a lot of sense to me because the five things that I was looking for in a friend, the dog had everyone beat at.

"And they are:
1) undivided attention
2) unconditional forgiveness
3) uncommon valor
4) complete honesty
5) unquestionable loyalty

"I would get undivided attention from the dog whenever I would call his name.

"I would receive unconditional forgiveness from the dog whenever I would say no or after I would have to punish the dog. The dog would forgive me every time and never bring it back up or hold it against me.

"It would be very uncommon valor for any friend to give up their life so that mine could continue, but it would not be uncommon for the dog to do just that because the dog would.

"Even though the dog and I do not communicate with words, the dog can tell me when he is mad or happy by growling or wagging his tail. And he is always telling me the truth this way, which is complete honesty.

"The dog's unquestionable loyalty leaves no doubt in my mind what side he will be on, in any fight I could or would be involved in.

"Yes, the dog had every friend I had beat by a country mile.

"About ten years later my dog died and I did miss my best friend, but about a year after, I found a new friend who was the only one who had the dog beat at the five things that the dog had everyone else beat at. And to my amazement his name was dog spelled backwards. . .

"So now I have to say that God is man's best friend."

I thought it was an interesting essay from someone without a roof over their head. But then, my best Friend was homeless too.