and the sound system was on its way to storage. The room that had been full of chairs and men was lining up with cots, a sheet on the bottom and a donated blanket on top, no pillow. Everyone knew the drill.
Some of the guys were already in their cot, covers over their head as the tasks continued. People talking. A few being prayed over. Others wandering the hall or stepping out in the humid night for one last cigarette before the lights went out. It was the rhythm of things, a meal, a service with music, and a bed of sorts, the Mission’s way of keeping the Hours.
On the streets outside people were driving by, unaware of the thousands of stories and hundreds of ghosts just inside the Mission walls. In hungry times such places are refuges of charity but also stark reminders of what could be a pink slip, or a the sideways tip of an addiction away. They send checks and hope that those inside stay them and not us.
Walking to the car with gear in hand and the air conditioning giving way to the August night one of those stories, one of those ghosts, one of God’s beloved, walked by. “Bro, you sure play that bass good…” he said. I hope I did.
I hope it mattered.