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.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Psalm from the streets

Even when the knees hurt
  The hard drive crashes
The shelter for 75 vulnerable men
   is cast into uncertainty;
Even when  the bank account is low
  and the car is no longer driveable,
the rain is cold and
   the ice cream is forbidden;
Even then, O Lord, will I praise you.
Your* works are marvelous,
    revealed in the smile of a stranger on the bus
       who jostled me *here.
My pen went awry on the page
   but the amends were sweet.


Last night an ancient one, barely able to walk

   shuffled across the wet sidewalk

      to the front door of Nightwatch.

His cab ride was paid for

     by an exasperated hospital social worker.

The hospital didn’t want him.

The shelters are all full.

The boarding house with cheap rent is torn down.

He has no friend to call.

No loving wife or sister or daughter

         with a couch, for a night or two.

He has only

    the gray-wool blanket

    given to Seattle’s phantoms.

His sick bed is the sidewalk outside my door.

gomer:  Medical slang "Get Out Of My Emergency Room.”

In the morning, I checked to see how old this old guy was. His birthday is the day after mine. He will be 64 this spring.