Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today it was my front porch

So today it was my front porch. Arrive at the church to meet Marc after my lectionary group. Go out to the front and open the door.  Not only is there the cardboard bed, but in the doorway where hb was there are three gross piles of human waste.  And feces loaded newspapers. And of course Marc laughs and says its not his job description and Stephen laughs and says it's not in his. And fact is its not in mine, but someone has to deal with it. And that’s me. 
So I pull on the rubber gloves and go to work. Pick up the newspapers, throw them away.  Then start with the dehumidifier water from the basement. Dump it on the steps. Hardly scratches the surface. So it's hauling buckets of water from the basement. One after the other.  And bleach.  Then finally have to pull out the mop and another bucket and finish up  the steps.
My anger rising by the minute. I have not had to deal with human waste on these steps since I started sweeping last November. I have worked so damned hard to reclaim these steps, to reestablish our presence in the neighborhood as a good  and responsible neighbor that I am sure as hell not going to have them taken back away from me again. 
It takes at least half an hour to finish this job.  And inside I feel this burning sensation that says with every minute I have invested in reclaiming this space, what we are doing must succeed. In spite of Presbytery pressure, broken political promises, everything  else, I, we have been buying this church back with our own sweat and tears. God must, God will honor that. 
Doesn't make me feel any better that no one answers the phone at Project Reachout and there's no room on the answering machine. Damn government cutbacks. It's simple. Reachout needs to make an effective intervention, find hb an appropriate place, or I'll have no choice but to call the police. 
Meet with Marc reviewing the Woodshed contract. Looking for spaces to  develop our own programming in the gaps. Ramping up to tthe gala. Reviewing last night’s meeting. Answering the committee’s questions. Can Marc’s team really deliver? He has said he doesn’t take projects that will fail. Working on the church’s development as well as the center’s.  
Marc goes off to meet with Stephen. Soon Stephen comes in  to see me, distraught. No time now to renegotiate the contract. Wants to deliver what we need. Anxious about timing. Why can’t what they’re doing meet our needs? So I need to come up with some specifics. And Marc needs to work around Woodshed and John’s Dark Lady Players. With flexibility, creativity, it can be done. 
Work with the Woodshed people to determine what’s trash, what stays. What they might use. Our old silver. Old communion ware. Old ledgers of giving, church attendance, women’s group meetings. Things I’ve never seen before. The preflood contents of my desk.  I rescue my ’70’s era mustard and black Pirate hat Andrea and the boys gave me one Father’s Day.  Clemente era. Old pictures too. And a radical political Gray Panthers banner. They too had their place in West-Park. 
Hours of computer work. Answering e-mails, working on the business plan. And then, when I check the mail, hallelujah! A New Hampshire charitable trust has come up with $5000 for our boiler project. Our first contribution for that purpose. Even though they normally give only in New Hampshire, thanks to Jim Wadsworth, they’ve decided to help us. Hallelujah again. Only $40000 to go. 
A day that began with, well, shit, ends with hope.

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