Continuing the journey through Holy Week with you, good readers, with a sharing, via The Pilgrim, in the pilgrimage of homeless Bostonians. Here is a joyous letter.
The Entertainments of Sleeping Out
by Paul Estes
It's what I do. Most every night I'm under the stars, sleeping out on Boston's sidewalks. And there have been some interesting moments. (In the interest of privacy and my own safety I'll be disclosing no names or locations.) On one occasion I woke to find a twenty-dollar bill on my face. I sat up, and saw a one-dollar bill at my feet. A few days later there was a five-dollar bill on my leg. A few days after that I came to consciousness with a twenty covering one eye and a dollar bill the other. These are by no means normal occurrences: only at my current sleeping location have I had this happen to me. Perhaps God put me there to find for him the goodness hidden in the hearts of passersby, so that through their generosity they can come closer to God and experience his love for them. For God so loves His transients, He can place us where he needs us to do His will. This, because He knows we find a sense of pride and honour in doing so. All praise be to you, Lord. How may I serve you today?
.... Oh, sorry. Still waking up and running through my morning prayers. Amen. OK -- back to the matter at hand. So there are random goodhearted passersby who'll drop money on me, or ask if I'm OK, or hungry, or if I need a doctor, and there's even my little old lady friend who leaves me a bottle of water. God bless them all. We finally come to the entertaining part. Early one Saturday morning I'd been stirred awake by the drunken shouting of the bar crowd as they were being kicked out of the nearby watering hole. Usually they're harmless. I sit awake until they've made their way past me, mostly to make sure no one falls on me, trips over me, kicks me, or tries to puke or piss on me -- keep an ear cocked for that zipper-opening sound -- while I'm in my doorway bedroom. This particular morning, as the revellers thinned out, a cute little brunette stumbled up and asked me for a light. I lit her cigarette for her and she offered me one as she sat down on the cold wet sidewalk. We had introductions, then she started to slump over where she sat. I pulled my bedroll mat out from under my sleeping bag and laid it out parallel to my bag. Digging in my backpack I found a small blanket for her and a couple of my shirts for a pillow. She tossed her unfinished smoke into the street, crawled out of the mist into the covered doorway and passed right out. I covered her with the blanket and listened to her quiet mumblings as she slept. Finishing my smoke, I said a few prayers for her, and -- satisfied that no one was around to bother us -- laid back down.
When I woke up she was still passed out, so I roused her, and we had a chat about the girls' night out that went awry, and she took me to Mickey D's for coffee, pancakes, and a chance to thank me for looking after her and not being a pervert. After breakfast she went home and I've not seen her since.
So you see it's not all bad sleeping out. Sometimes it's entertaining. You never know who you'll meet, or how you can help them. I feel certain that God had me there on that night, to keep her safe until she sobered up enough to go home. As a son of God, I'm always happy to oblige His requests.