Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wrestling with reality

Sekou and his wife Carlene have come in to talk about our upcoming Revolutionary Bible Study which will focus on the Gospel of Mark and Ched Meyer’s Binding the Strong Man. Struggling with how to do it in such a way as to engage the people so as to build a base for praxis, not just an exploration of exegetical theological ideas. 
Steve  comes in to pick up a ticket for a ballgame we will be going to later that night. My friend Liz comes in for a visit. I knew her  for years as one of the soccer parents. But then at a party discoverred she ws a social worker and she wanted to come in, see what’s going on, if there might be a way for her to play a part. 
As I greet her at the door, I see that Wesley and Antonia have arrived early. Problem. And in the south doorway, a threesome have set up camp. I tell them they can’t be there during the day. One large man, with what could only be called a baleful and glowering  presence, stares at me and says We ain’t sleepin’. I look back, say, Not the point. You can’t be here with all this stuff during the day. We have to keep these doors open. He looks back at me with an evil glare. An all but spoken sense of threat. 
Teddy comes around the corner. Yo, is there a problem? He stands by me. Soon the steps are clearing. Back inside, I’m showing Liz the sanctuary when RL walks in, three piece suit and cowboy hat. Talks about his wife Harvey’s trip to the hospital. Explains that he calls her Harvey ...he has a nickname for everyone he cares for...because she was an actress and her last part was in Harvey, the play about Elwood P. Dowd and his invisble 6’3.5 tall rabbit friend, Harvey. 
RL recalls a conversation where Elwood is told he’s got to face reality. Elwood responds: Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it. 
I remember how much my father loved the movie with Jimmy Stewart when it came out. How he brought home a four foot inflatable bunny for me and called it Harvey.
Along our tour, Liz meets Runi in her protective shell winter down coat and watch cap, even in  warm spring weather.  Raven is cooking cream of vegetable soup from fresh vegetables in  the kitchen. I learned his real name today. Always thought Raven was his nom d’occupy but he’s had it since he was a teenager. Seems he had a bird that said raven.
Was it a raven? I ask.
No, he says, it only said raven. Everybody started calling me that. I’m looking for an Edgar Alan Poe (our neighbor from two blocks down, lived across the street fom the old Park Church)  angle here, but its not quite there. 
We finish our tour. Go off to talk about thier efforts to create an exit strategy. The emotional issues we’re confronting in  doing that. In an hour, she's had a good look at our life here, at all that's challenging, wonderful, fufilling and impossible. 
Late at night, Steve and I are coming back up 86th. Carl Pavano, who spent a benighted two years in New York as a Yankee and is now loudly reviled and despised with every appearance, has just held on after a rocky start to shut down the Yankees. We talked Occupy business all night. We stop in front of the church. Talk with little Christopher awhile. All my issues are still facing me. Tomorrow is tax day. We too, are still wrestling with reality. 

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