Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blow, blow, thou winter wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

--William Shakespeare
As You LIke It

It's cold here in Virginia.  Most of the country, in fact, is in the bitter grip of some serious winter weather.  

That leaves many of us cursing the sky, the wind, and the snow.  While I haven't been cursing it (probably because it brings this teacher highly desired snow days), I have found myself daydreaming about a more tropical climate.  I'm fantasizing respite big time.

But winter is simply being winter.  True to its nature, authentic.  Winter is supposed to be snowy, windy, cold, and sometimes brutally so.

Shakespeare reminds us in "Blow" of that.  But, the character in "As You Like It," has been betrayed by a friend, and compares it to the season.  Winter?  Bring it on.  Betrayal, "man's ingratitude,"  no thanks.

So, I've been thinking about the homeless a lot since this frigid cold has wrapped its arms around us.  My friend, Priest in NYC, blessed me with his stories of bringing the homeless in from the cold when temperatures and conditions become life threatening.

It's difficult to convince people to come in off the street even if it means the difference between survival and freezing to death.  For a lot of reasons.  Mental illness being a significant one.

I was greatly impacted by his witness to this reality and his ministry to the least of us last year.  I am even more impacted this year.  JSB was homeless for about a week this summer.  We had no idea where he was because he had been released from the hospital while we were out of state.  He refused shelter because taking meds was a requirement.  He chose the street.

For a week, we had no idea where he was.  Whether he was alive or dead.  Finally, he contacted us and we put a roof over his head.  Since then, that's about all we've been able to do for him.

At any rate, the men and women of the street are on my heart and on my mind as I sit cocooned in my toasty living room, and reach for my second cup of coffee.  There is this nagging and gnawing going on at the fringes of my consciousness.  It tells me:  "Do something.  It doesn't have to be grand and world-changing.  Just do something."

Okay, then.  On the home front, Furball is going to do the welfare check on JSB.  We haven't heard from him in days and again, have no idea of his condition.  I would appreciate a little prayer for him, if you would be so kind.

On the local front, I'm going to do some research to see if there is something I can do to remember my friends who make their home on the street.  Because my own spiritual poverty is diminished when I show compassion to anyone in need.

Oh, and God, thanks for that gentle reminder today.

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 14:31

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