It seems as if there are many triggers around here that set people into a frenzy... nice weather, bad weather, full moons, crescent moons, the beginning of the month, the end of the month (and every other day in between), a delicious dinner at the Inn, a not-so-delicious dinner at the Inn... you get the idea. As it turns out, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the ebb and flow of the moods and dispositions of the guests. While we can anticipate smaller numbers at the beginning of the month, a yard of 225 people can feel the same as when the yard is full of people if you have just one or two "crazy" people in it.
We've been revisited by "Head Phones Rodney," a man who doesn't really believe he is part of this world, nor really part of any world. He likes to "listen" to headphones that I'm not entirely sure play music. He speaks in a very deep almost robot-like voice that is very difficult to understand. He seems pretty harmless but when you get him excited, it's hard to control him.
Since Monday I've had to call 911 twice. Monday a woman came into the yard whom no one recognized and plopped herself against the fence. She was not really responding to Emily and wouldn't give us any information. Just 30 minutes ago, a regular guest of ours was laying on the front steps of one of the houses the Inn owns. She looked gray-ish (definitely not a good sign) and wasn't responding to Fred. Fortunately in both instances the ambulance came quickly but that is not always the case around these parts.
Saturday afternoon my friend Jen and I went down to the Inn to pick something up and we were met by Anna Mae, a beloved non-guest at the Inn (she doesn't ever eat at the Inn, she just hangs out in front) who was expressing concern for a man in a motorized wheelchair. Anna Mae, although can be hard to work with at times, is actually really sweet and caring and looks out for people around the block. This man just appeared on our front steps Saturday morning with four suitcases and very little English-speaking ability. Anna Mae asked me to call for help because she was afraid that he was going to get hurt. After talking with him, I was able to put together that he was looking for a shelter. I called Outreach Services, a Philadelphia agency that comes to pick up at-risk people and brings them to shelters in the area. Well Outreach told me that they could bring the man but could not transport his wheelchair. I was ordered to call the police, have them meet Outreach at the Inn so that they could simply pick the chair up and put it in Outreach's vehicle. Sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? So I called the police, they agreed to come help, then I called Outreach back but they had already dispatched their team to another issue.
After about 15 minutes, Outreach arrived, angry with me that the police were not there and angry with our wheelchair-bound friend because he couldn't speak English. We ended up getting a man from The Last Stop (the recovery house across the street) to come over and translate for us. The man's story didn't really make much sense, even to the man who could speak Spanish (which made me feel better about my Spanish-speaking skills), but he still needed some place to sleep. Finally, a transport service agency came and brought the man to a shelter that many of our guests stay at and we haven't heard from him since. The police never showed up to help. I try not to get discouraged and continually tell myself that they are very busy, especially around these parts, but if they are here to "protect and serve," they need to be doing a better job.
In other news, we've been blessed with some beautiful weather! My housemates and I are planning to plant a garden in the back yard to supply us with some fresh veggies for the summer and I can't wait to get out there and get to work, the hard part is finding the time to do so. My friend Tara is visiting this weekend from Boston and I'm really excited!!!
No further developments as far as what the plan is for next year yet. I have put the issue on the back burner for awhile in hopes that suddenly it will all become clear but I think that's wishful thinking. I am going to seriously start exploring my options within the coming weeks and will hopefully be able to pin down something soon. Keep my community and the discernment process in your prayers, we all need it!