My Front Yard

 

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Yesterday I watched a man make his home at the bench along the Interurban trailhead across from my apartment. First he emptied his black plastic bag onto the grass and draped his clothes over the railing to release three days of rain. Then he sat on the bench and basked in the welcome sun. Thirty minutes later he moved on to another home.

Last week I watched a man pace furiously up and down the same trail while shouting and articulating to an unseen listener….Unseen to me.

I live in a large, thriving suburb north of Seattle Washington. News coverage of our area focuses on the boom in technology and the influx of workers it brings, along with the construction needed to house them. Come to Seattle, the heart of  Amazon, where few people can afford the rent much less a mortgage. Come to Seattle where downtown has become a parade of Effie Trinket puppets, strings pulled by capitalism run amuck.

So what do I do about the daily drama unfolding in my front yard? Eyes wide open. Don’t t turn away. Be compassionate. Be an advocate. Above all, live simply so that these “others” can not simply live, but thrive. That’s what it means to tend to the common good.

Calvary Is Right Here

homeless person

 

“Palm Sunday”
Joyce Rupp

 

Three men
proclaiming the memory
of your path to Calvary.
Three men
with somber voices
making all the appropriate
pauses and inflections.

But what I remember
is the Calvary
beside me,
the man
whose body odor
invaded my space,
the man
seemingly homeless,
surely mentally
challenged.

The three men
went on and on and on
with their words
telling the history
of your suffering.

I found you
not in their stiff words
but next to me,
a man still bearing
the heavy cross
of loneliness and rejection.

“Palm Sunday” collected in My Soul Feels Lean:  Poems of Loss and Restoration Sorinbooks, 2013

 

 

Photo Credit:  Edited from The Homeless Epidemic at http://eng105project3.blogspot.com/?m=1