Prayers at the shelter


I posted on FB 10/17/19 behind the Trump/Pelosi/Syria debacle:

God, give us a better President.  Amen.

This recalled to me prayers I have offered at the shelter, all just as parsimonious.

Over the years, there have been half a dozen times some situation came up at the shelter that I felt compelled to lift up in prayer.  I am grateful that every single one came to a favorable conclusion.

In two cases, that came by a path I would not knowingly have prayed for.

At some point, Fallon’s negativity became a problem.

Related: Attitude …

I am a very patient and tolerant guy, and I’d known this guy for years.  So though I don’t recall any details, if I say it had become a problem, it must really have become A Problem.  I prayed that God remove the problem.

God removed Fallon.

I have visual memories of the event, but I don’t recall what was said to whom.  He somehow got into a beef with somebody.  Now, at this shelter, there is zero tolerance for threats.  If you say to someone, say, “I’m-a slap the sh*t out yo a**” — probably the one single sentence I heard more often than any other, in Barclay — your a** is gone forever.

So, I don’t recall what he said to whom, but Fallon’s a** is gone forever.

The second story:  At intake in the afternoon, two men staff the desk.  One assigns you a bunk and writes your name down on the bed chart.  The other guy takes your $3 and writes you a receipt.  At one time, Mr. Ben, an older guy, was writing the receipts.

He would not write your name from memory, even if he knew you.  He would not look at the bed chart, remember your whole name and write it from memory.  His practice was to look at the bed chart, remember the first three letters of your name, write them on the receipt; look at the bed chart again, remember the second three letters of your name, write them on the receipt; and repeat this as many times as needed, until he’d written your whole name.

He did this for every man, every day.  For me, it meant a lot of impatience and delay.  Multiply that by sixty men, and you’ve got a whole lot of impatience and delay.

So I felt compelled to pray, if for no other reason than to sublimate my anger.  But pray what?  That Mr. Ben go away?  That’s more consistent with anger than goodwill.  Pray that someone else be at that desk?  But then, what about Mr. Ben?

In search of something that would improve everyone’s happiness, it came to me to envision Mr. Ben working a different job, a job more consistent with his skills, a job where he could excel, a job where his performance would earn praise, a job where he would be wanted.

A chapel service came where the leader invited testimonies, and I stood up.  I explained to the men the situation, and my approach.  And invited them to pray the same thing as me:

God, get Mr. Ben a better job. Amen.

And in the end, after a few weeks, God did.  Mr. Ben did get a better job, after his stroke.

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