Wednesday, January 04, 2006

tabula rasa

at the homeless dinner tonight, i sat with bill* whose eyes crinkle up when he smiles, out from beneath his cabbie hat. he inquired several times if i would be eating. i explained that i usually don't because someone may come in very hungry and i can always eat later (i felt better about this stance when i found out later that don has been ill because last month he only ate 10 days out of the month). i finally succumbed after bill pointed out that second helpings were being served. i can't wait to give him these warm isotoner gloves i got for christmas- as soon as i unwrapped the gift, i knew they were meant for him.

our bible study which a guy named don* dubbed "second helping" followed the meal. seven of us sat in an intimate circle and began discussing christmas and new years, since we haven't seen each other in a few weeks. it is so refreshing to sit among these friends, outdoor dwellers though they may be, who are so immune to putting on airs and just willing to put "it" out there.

a guy named gus* came in and said he could only stay with us for the prayer, but wanted to pray with us. he ended up leading us in a two sentence long prayer that was ungilded with words so meaty and rife with desire for God to move in His life this year, to help him change the things that he knows he needs to change. his prayer for the group resonated so much with me and all these musings transpiring in my own heart. he stayed long enough to tell us his ex-girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl on the 19th- how elated he is about it all and how he carjacked a van and was going to drive it through the door of the federal building but was taken away by the police instead (all in retaliation of his then-girlfriend's whereabouts being unknown).

don read us a page of his journal, talking about how truth has been revealed in past generations, how there's nothing new under the sun, which of course reminded us of a wise king eons ago who came to the same conclusion. and then he read this statement that "perhaps he might at some point be used by God to explain a truth in such a way that another person who has seen that truth but never understood it, might." pages and pages of journal entries and poems. his is a deep well from which he draws.

andy* mentioned how he wants to try to go back to school to become a wrestler. he told us how this christmas was the first one he has spent without his mom alive- though he talked about it gesturely, it sounded like she was his family. whew. that's hard- as i remember so many christmases with just my mom and i. as he continued delving into explanations of wrestling school, she came into the conversation again. she had told him he ought to go and do it, that he should pursue his dreams. but then, he mentioned that he took care of her as her illness worsened, for a year. as a back-up plan he's thinking of studying cooking.

i say this because each of us in that small circle had something we wanted to accomplish this year- both lofty pursuits and mundane tasks like cleaning a room or listening to/playing/enjoying music (which is not so mundane).

we're not so different in the end. and a new year is a fresh start- a somewhat blank slate to be written onto.

as i left don showed me a quote from bob dylan on creativity and the forcing of it- forgetting that the creative comes and cannot be summoned so easily, otherwise i would have a widget instead of a poem.

nothing beats a happy new years like that.


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