The calm before the storm...
It's been 3 weeks since I moved onto Hagert Street, but it feels like I've been here forever. Faces are looking familiar, people are recognizing me, the crazy Team (that's the staff at the Inn) are starting to give us all more responsibility, and my housemates and I hosted our first party to celebrate Paul's birthday!
I was on "tickets" today, which is basically standing on Kensington Avenue waiting for hungry people to come to the Inn, give them a ticket, and carefully monitor who is coming and going, so as not to give out 2 tickets to one guest. It was my second time doing tickets and it might be one of my favorite jobs at the Inn. The little tiny part of me that is friendly and smiley gets to come out as I greet and bid farewell to guests! I found myself saying similar phrases as when I worked at Carrabba's, "thanks for coming," "how was your meal?" and, most often, "see you tomorrow." I've just started really looking forward to seeing the same guests day after day, despite the fact that it means they are relying on SFI for their food. It's not so much a feeling of hopelessness or despair, but I would like to think of it as another day to get to know another guest, and I am so blessed to be part of their lives in that way!
I've come to know a few guests pretty well, or at least offer them a smile when they come in. Richard and his wife Dorothy are regulars (who I remember from when I was here in March), but every day Richard insists on giving me a hug- so it's really hot and humid today in Philly and two sweaty people hugging is just all kinds of gross, but I graciously take the hug until Bill, a big, tall man with a bandana comes up behind me and says to Richard, "You have your own wife, she's mine!" Bill also complimented me on my new hair-do (pink highlights) and said, slurring his words, "I'll see you tomorrow, beautiful." Now I don't know if he was drunk (I know he used to be an alcoholic), but I'll take the compliments! :-)
So although I look out my window and see prostitutes being dropped off on the corner, some shooting up across the street, and my front door smells like pee, my days are fulfilled by the love and grace I experience every day when I step foot into the Inn.