March 28, 2010

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:21 pm by peachesteaberry

The old woman tucked her prayer beads in one of the pockets of her voluminous maroon and gold tiered skirts. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The early morning breeze rustled her long hair. Chilled, she buried her fingers under the thin cloth of her turquoise tunic and shivered. The black fringed shawl did little to warm her.

Vagabonds and workers bustled around her. Some begged for money. Some pretended not to see or hear them as they hustled back and forth from one business to another. She watched them all. Sometimes her thoughts danced in the worlds only she could see. She waltzed from one identity to another; delighting in the lives she created. Yet she always came back to her own.

The guards across the street meandered towards a pair of toughs huddled against the rain shelter. A woman with a pair of toddlers and a babe in arms hurried past her, swearing as spray from the fountain splattered them. Life thrived around the old woman.

In her moments of lucidity, she rejoiced in their lives, welcoming the tidbits of overheard conversations. She let her heart go out to them as she shared their sorrows unnoticed. She whispered prayers for them as they bemoaned their burdens. For a moment she paused to wonder if she should send word of their needs to the monastery that had been her former home. The sisters would gladly share her efforts to intercede for her poor people. She decided not. The needs of today would only be swept away by the needs of tomorrow.  She had no money to pay for such an undertaking and her connections with the sisters had long since passed.

She belonged to a different order now. No safe secure monastery of only women for her. She lived on the streets as a Secular Carmelite. Her brown scapular and crucifix safely held in trust by one of her sisters in the order at a nearby city. Her study books were kept by a brother Carmelite in another.  Her memories of her Carmelite community prodded at her. Raising her eyes to the rising sun, she prayed for them. Keep them safe and strong in the faith she asked. Let them guard and protect those in need with their lives and prayers.

Sighing softly she glanced down towards the guards. The toughs were shuffling down the street. Guide them safely back to You, she prayed. For a moment images tugged at her mind. She felt a flicker of other worlds tempting her. Resolutely she pushed them aside. Her duty called.

She slid her arms through the pack and hoisted it into position on her back. Clutching the pair of mismatched canes she began hobbling down the street. As she moved she watched the people who passed her. To a woman in nursing whites she smiled, the man with the harried look on his face collected another smile. When the nervous executive reluctantly met her eyes she grinned and chirped a hearty good morning. She snickered internally as she wondered what his reaction would have been to a “cock a doodle doo” instead. Happily she let the joys of life stretch out and embrace the sadness, fear and drudgery of those around her. With each touch and comment she drew them a single step back from the dark. She praised a hairstyle. She admired an outfit. One by one she changed to tone of their day, gave them a moment of light.

She walked the streets fearlessly. These were her people. The good, the bad, they were all hers. She had lived their lives. She remembered their joys and sorrows. She knew the pain of loss and loneliness as only the old and homeless can. She knew their temptations. Memories of youthful gang life trickled across her awareness. She gave them all she had. Moments of peace, hope, faith and love. It was all she had. She hoped it would be enough.

As you can see, I also like to write. I am truly homeless and have lived on the streets for over a year. It isn’t as the movies portray it. It’s filled with interesting people and a never ending variety of experiences.  It can lead to a spiritual awakening that only those who have lived it can truly appreciate. It’s been one of the best things to have ever happened to me. I hope I’ve helped you to see us as we really are. Take care and have a blessed day. –Peaches

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Posted in Uncategorized at 9:17 pm by peachesteaberry

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