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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

The instructions for Ash Wednesday: Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

So I'm pondering my mortality. It's not hard to do, at age 62. I've been walking a lot lately (no car!) Which gives me extra time to feel the world under my feet, along with the various aches that can creep into the bones.

I felt compelled to observe the passing of two more homeless people in Seattle with a group called "Women in Black." I stood at the corner in my clerical collar and handed out flyers in the drizzle, trying to inspire people to care. They seemed tuned in on lunch and didn't really want to see a clergy person handing out anything.

The exception was a formerly homeless woman, who was quite enthused about what we were doing. She also felt very motivated to tell me about her "sin" which she feels bad about. "I've quit everything, and now I need to quit this satanic tobacco."  I told her I'd pray for her.

"Would you pray, right now? And so, the two of us prayed, with pedestrians streaming by and downtown traffic doing its thing. Serenity, Wisdom, Strength. My prayers are starting to meld into one repeated ideal which fits everyone's most basic need. In Jesus Name.

She smiled sweetly and we wandered away. Pretty sure they don't use cigarette ashes for Ash Wednesday, but isn't that an appropriate thing to ask for on this day.