Friday, September 16, 2011

A woman with a mandolin and a drag queen


Danielle and I are caught in that constant whirl of things needing to be done and not sure where to go next. A woman, Anita, comes in, says she's interested in the play going on here. Actually, with the Dark Lady Players’ Shakespeare’s Gospel Parodies, there’s two plays going on here right now. Anita seems interested in them both. (John is rightfully excited that his Dark Lady production got a big picture in ths week’s Time Out New York.

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P_______ comes in. She has a yellow rose for me.  I’ve been very worried about her. She came up to me after last Sunday’s service, reminding me of her court appearance the next day. I thought that maybe I coud make it. But waking up in the middle of the night, walking with great pain, I knew I couldn’t  make it. Not by subway for sure. Not even by car.
This was very hard for me. Having walked down this road with her this far, I wanted to be there with her at the end. I knew my presence is helpful. When Andrea asked if someone else could go, I said no. Rightly or wrongly, the presence of clergy beside someone in court always has an impact that’s different from anyone else’s. 
I’m relieved to hear that this wasn’t the end. The judges could not reach a decision. She can remain in her house. For now.  In her house, even with all her challenges, she is making it. If she were to be evicted, well, she would be at least incredibly vulnerable. 
Over and over again I realize the importance of PHEWA’S Serious Mental Illness Network. It’s one of the most difficult parts of urban ministry. I have to deal with it on almost a daily basis.
We end the day by going outside and putting up posters for our showing this  weekend of Divided We Fall: Americans in the Wake...It’s a film about the experiences of the Sikh community following 9/11. IT’s part of our continuing commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9-11. We wanted not only to remember and memorialize the tragic deaths of thousands but also look at the aftermath, how it afffected different groups in the US. How our civic life has changed in light of 9-11 and  where are we going now.  

Divided We Fall is also the first of our Center’s film  series on hard issues. The series will also include the PBS film Forgiveness, along with a three part discussion and 7th Street, in essence a love song for one particular street in the East Village that helps us look at the issue of and why how urban neighborhoods change. 
Danielle has to be the one to climb up on the scaffolding this time. I can only stand nearby and hold the tape. Soon the posters are up. Time to go.
I come back for the special benefit performance of the Tenant. Jeremy, his wife and uncle are there. Jeremy and I talk about last Sunday’s service, how the music went. Working together with both Jane and I. I have missed that kind of creation, collaboration. 
I feel good on the stairs. I was very concerned how that might go. Walking through the rooms, it’s an interesting crowd. There’s a woman who walks around all night with a mandolin. And a drag queen. This time I go uo to follow the Tall Pale Man  narrative line.  Stephen says it’s his favorite. Plus I’ve been wanting to see Caitlin at work.   It’s dark, somewhat expressionist, with at least two lyrical monologues.
After the peformance, I talk with Caitlin. Sometimes they do their monologues with no one in the room. But they have to keep doing them anyways. (Church feels like that sometimes.) Stephen also has some ideas worth pursuing as to how we actually could finance our project.
As I head home, there’s no one on the steps.

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