Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Showers of blessing update (with photos!)


Dear Friends,

 What an amazingly beautiful morning! Today, very early on, I gave Colin a bad time because (well, because I always give Colin a bad time) I thought he was being Pollyannaish when he declared very early, “This is the best Showers yet!” And I’m not going to admit this to him so, Colin, please skip this part … [He was right!!!!]

To those of you who weren’t able to make it, I’m so sorry we missed you and that you missed our Christmas Showers. It really was great.

I haven’t yet done my “number work,” but I believe we hosted 59 guests today. This is a huge (30%) increase over our previous high of 45. Of course, growth is good news; yet it also makes me aware that we’re each going to have to exert more effort to ensure that we have real conversation with each guest. We can’t individually, but we can as a community. We don’t want to lose that personal touch which is the heart of this ministry. As I walk around, I’m thrilled with all of the blending and the conversations that I see happening because my prayer is always that our guests are nourished when they leave us. Let’s always make this happen.

So highlights from this morning, and there were many!

· We had many merry Methodists. (Did anyone besides me happen to notice that they had a huge box of chocolate candies in their breakfast food lineup today? I’m seriously going to have to check out that religion!)
· We also had homemade Christmas goodies that seemed to continuously appear on the courtyard table throughout the morning. (Many thanks to all of you who made that happen!)
· And this convergence was somewhat coincidental, but we had 3 guests assessing medical and mental health needs which I hope will lead to something more tangible for us in the future. (Thanks for your initiative in arranging that, Colin.)
· There was Claudia’s Winter Coat Boutique, complete with rolling clothing rack, and Claudia snapping “after” photos of all of the smiling coat recipients (I hope, to share with her generous – and now underclothed – family of donors).
· And then what I loved most … we had lovely, string, angel music drifting down from the balconies. So it wasn’t really 18 cellos. It was more like 11 cellos, 4 violins and one flute. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, though, and I’ve asked Sr. Karla to please bring her gang back without waiting for next Christmas. She’s now thinking maybe for our March Showers.

Finally, Elaine was at home, sick this morning, no doubt tormented at having to miss her beloved Showers. In a text, she’d asked that we capture and share with her the “God moments.” I hadn’t seen her text until we got home, and we didn’t get home until the event was well over, after having spent quite a bit of time on site afterwards, restocking hygiene supplies and waiting for the laundry to finish. As we waited in the now-empty-and-quiet courtyard, Bill and I commented to each other how it was a place transformed – there was no sign left of the magic that had occurred just that morning.

As we drove home – not even having seen Elaine’s request – we tried to get each other to pin down a particular God moment, and we couldn’t. Then we got home, and I found several emails in my Inbox from Claudia because she’d forwarded a beautiful, vibrant series of photos that she’d taken this morning. Looking at those photos after having been in the empty courtyard was almost like when “The Wizard of Oz” springs into Technicolor. The place had been completely and wholeheartedly alive! And I realized, Elaine, that there wasn’t one particular moment because the whole thing had really been a God moment. He was there in the Technicolor and the vibrancy and the motion and the love and the human interactions and (I’m pretty sure) in whomever thought to put that box of chocolates in the Methodist breakfast lineup. That’s why we keep coming, right?

I think I say this a lot, but I say it in complete sincerity: thank you all tremendously for making this such an incredible ministry!

Lynne Fish

See more pictures here: 
 https://www.flickr.com/photos/stpaulscathedral/albums/72157662466796545



4 comments:

St Paul Blog said...

Amen, Lynne!

This morning, I remembered a particular moment that makes me smile. A young woman who hadn't been to a Showers Saturday before was grinning as she came back to take her turn. She giggled as we handed her a clean towel and washcloth. "Oh my!" And then when she saw the shower room itself, clean and ready, she was like a kid at Christmas. "Oh my gosh, no way!" She went into the shower room with a joyful whoop.

Now that I tell this story, a weight comes over me: it is a sad, sad world in which anyone would be so thrilled by a clean towel and a private shower room. But the world being what it is, I'm glad to have towels and showers to share. I'm glad to have had the chance to have met her. And I absolutely find God in the community that gathers on these Saturdays, housed and unhoused neighbors together. Thanks to all of you for helping make that possible.

- Kristen

Marshall Moore said...

As I am somewhat new to a true urban living experience, the plight of the homeless is something I am face to face with for the first time in my life. Before, it was always something read about at an arm's length. As I struggled with how to respond and what to do, the "Showers" were just getting underway. With my background and ability in things plumbing and mechanical, I saw the chance to help with making sure the showers were fully functioning. So it began.
I will confess that so far, I've operated more in the background but I want to change that. As has been said, it is in the interaction, the conversation with our fellow humans that is most important and the most meaningful. My comfort and willingness to engage with our guests grows with each event. So, thank you to all who participate or support this wonderful ministry. You not only help to provide an experience of welcome and comfort, you are helping me in my journey of faith.

Lynne Fish said...

Marshall,

First, thank you for your enthusiastic and devoted service. We need plumbing and mechanical!!

Secondly, I greatly admire your willingness to be an integral part of our Showers team, despite the fact that some of it may be outside of your comfort zone. That's part of the beauty of Showers -- we're able to create space for any level of experience or comfort, and we're there for each other as we grow into it. This is truly a ministry that we only do in community and fellowship.

Your introspection and honesty enrich us. Be patient with yourself as you claw your way forward into new territory. Remember that every one of us is still learning; we're growing together.

Lynne

Philip Petrie said...

How beautifully put this is and I think spot on--thank you Lynne!! These showers have become a key place where I meet Jesus at SPC due chiefly to the work that you, Bill and Colin (and, yes, the rest of us!!) have put in. I'm still more of an environmentalist than a homeless advocate but surely a human culture that placed service and love above profit and status would take much better care of both the homeless and the ecology of our planet. I think we embody in microcosm what that society looks like at the Showers. Oh and here's my God moment (or rather a sequence of moments)--the smile on our guests' faces when they emerge clean from the shower!