I hummed happily to myself as I headed downtown to the Mustard Seed, ready to do my duty, anticipating another great night. And it was a great night, but marred by the harsh reality of things that go on in the dark inner city while we're curled up in suburbia, oblivious to anything other than our warm beds.
The wind started to kick up as I arrived, and a few of the guys called, "Hey Jo, can you ask us to let us in early?" Thankfully, we did, and the crowds wandered in out of the biting wind, and I was amazed at the volume of families that came in last night. One of the crowd that came in later was a young guy that I've noticed before, the one who walks with a cane and wears a heavy downfilled jacket, long and down below his knees. Some days he walks very slowly, and last night his head was hooded, hiding his face, and I soon saw why. His eyes were blackened, his face cut, obviously the result of a serious run-in with the wrong guy. He politely came for coffee and I tried not to look at him with pity, but I'm sure I did, and I wonder what happened to him during the week.
Then I found out more about Sheldon, who has become very talkative these past few weeks. His mom died a while ago and he kept telling me how much he hates people. I felt sad for him, because when he first mentioned his mom to me a few weeks ago, he called her, "Mommy", with love in his voice, and I didn't realize at the time that she was gone.
But the night wasn't all gloomy and sad - after all, it was karaoke night! A young guy did an awesome rocking rendtion of "Sunglasses at Night" - one of the best songs I had heard since I began at The Mustard Seed back in June. He probably wasn't even born when that song was released, and the video aired with a cool young Corey Hary and his elf-like shoes.
And so I take it all in, the good with the bad, and do what I can to help each week, and maybe if I'm lucky I can make someone smile. I'd like to think there is hope for all of us, and I can see it in myself as I'm coming out of the storm that has enveloped me for the last few months.
On Monday night, I was able to fall asleep before 10:00 for the first time since November.