WELCOME FROM HAYWOOD STREET:
12 Bones has now successfully re-opened both of their locations, and this week, they served their final Haywood Street meal (for now). A reminder, that this partner restaurant has prepared almost every Saturday meal since mid-March and has demonstrated an inspiring dedication to the Haywood Street community. We encourage you to patronize their locations and thank them for the love and generosity they have extended in these most challenging of times.
1. Grammy award winning Steep Canyon Rangers and Wicked Weed Brewing have partnered on a incredible Haywood Street fundraiser. Click here to learn more!
2. Golf for Awareness is on! Learn more and register here!
3. A reminder that Saturday, August 1st, will be our final Saturday meal. Wednesday and Sunday meals will continue as usual.
CURRENT WAYS TO SUPPORT THE MINISTRY & OUR FRIENDS:
1. Make a meal for Friends staying in Respite. Click here to sign up!
2. We are still in need of small-sized underwear for both men and women, walking shoes (sandals or tennis shoes), all seasonal clothing items, and masks.
* All items can be dropped off Tuesdays from 10am – 12pm (back-side of the building via the white door)
A HAYWOOD STREET REFLECTION BY: DAVE
Learning the routine was easy. Later I would learn that the routine was called “The Invisible Box”. Not too complicated, you just woke up with no agenda, when you wanted. The only thing that you need was to find food and water. It was a relief. I found myself starting to enjoy the peace of it all. Still struggling with the Preacher I was supposed to meet, I returned to the campsite on Saturday evening a little disappointed. I had discovered so far that the people I was taught to respect and look up to as a child, you know, the community leader, police, Mayor, County Sheriff, and others, would allow their community to get to a point in time where people were actually living in tents at campsites and struggling to find food and water. These things I had always assumed were basic and were available to everyone, rich or poor. My childhood on Holland Farms had no allowance for this kind of irresponsible behavior. Environments like these, I thought, had since been solved since the Great Depression. No one in my childhood world would be allowed to suffer like this. My Grandfather, and founder of Holland Farms, would never have allowed it. In fact, in that community, no one was every left behind. If one farmer had a bad year, then all the other farmers in the community would pull together their resources and bring them to bear on the problem until it was solved, and that family would be assured another year. Sure there were people in my community that looked like they had less than everyone else, but they always had food, and water and shelter, they had work if they needed it, and rest if that was required also, and there was empathy all around. And if politicians attempted to establish laws that interfered with this, they were quickly voted out of office. It was simply a healthy environment, not without problems, but healthy. I was taught that there are no guarantees in life, and that all we had was each other, and you better darn well help if the need arises or there would be consequences. You just simply did not turn a blind eye to suffering, yet here I was sitting at a make-shift campsite with strangers, that had been ostracized and seemingly forgotten by society. What the heck? That night I would begin to discover things about myself that I had forgotten. It would be the second hard lesson I had learned about our relationship with creation and solidified my new purpose in life. The reason I was sitting at this campsite was of my own making. Or was it? I had certainly made bad choices for the last few years, but I was not suffering. In fact, my eyes had been opened to a new purpose, and I had found a peace and focus that I had never know since those carefree days on Holland Farms. It started with two cats about sundown. I noticed these two cats enter the campsite a few days before, but this time was different. One of them was carrying a McDonalds Hamburger in its mouth. What? Then Gray would explain that the cats would often get these hamburgers and bring them to their house behind the campsite and eat them. Makes sense, after all cats are nocturnal creatures that roam at night and there would be plenty of hamburgers around the garbage cans at McDonalds due to overcooking or people not finishing their meals, so I thought nothing of it. Then something strange happened. Gray would go and spook the cat who then dropped the hamburger and fled the scene. She then looked at me and said, laughing, “They bring us food all the time.” Could it be that these two cats knew more about community that we did? Obviously, they did! (I would later make entries into my journal about this, which I will post on my Facebook page called “The Marginal Writing Community”, so check it out.) I had been taught many lessons as a child about how our relationship with animals is essential to our existence, and I no doubt could write several books on this matter, but I will share a short story about my first interaction with all the hype that I was told was God.
In those days there was a couple of rules that were in place. One, you must be baptized in your 13th year of life. That is supposedly when you’ve reached the age of accountability, and could be held accountable by God for your sins. Before that I guess you got a free pass. And two, you could not watch live animals being born until your 14th year of life, which I would later discover was not a bad idea. One very cold November morning both rules would play out, and God would show up unexpectedly and introduce him/herself in person. Again, there are many versions to this event that could very well be a book or two, but here is the short version as I remember it in the late fall of ’72. I was baptized that summer in July and turned 14 in August. Oh boy, I was now a man. I had asked My Grandfather that previous spring how I would know when I become a man, to which he replied, “Son you will know you are a man when you can love unconditionally without expecting anything in return”. I dismissed this theory later having believed it was impossible and that he was the only person I knew that could do that. Anyways, my grandfather and I were at a place on his farm called the “Blue Hole”. It was a makeshift swimming hole earlier in time, as I was told, that my dad and some of his friends would use as a swimming pool, until the new spot on Cowards Creek, which I would swim in as a child. We were there checking on a sow who was building a bed of pine straw in preparation for the birth of her litter of pigs. It was cold, and I did not agree with the way that she was preparing her birth bed. Sows, which is a legit term for mother pig, a pig reaching maturity and whose sole purpose was to reproduce litters of pigs for the farm and surrounding ecosystems. (That is another story all together). Sows build their beds in a sort of “U” shape from pile of brush, in this case pine straw, as it was in a small pine forest. The shape of the bed did not allow for the strong wind that was blowing cold air, and as constructed would allow that very cold air to penetrate the bed and blow directly on the litter of new born pigs. So, I wanted to change the bed to accommodate for that element, thinking that the sow was to dumb to not figure that out for herself. My grandfather quickly reminded me that it was none of my affair, and that the sow knew her role and my role was to leave her alone and get on with the day and the task we had to complete. So, I reluctantly left the bed as it was and departed with my grandfather. The next morning we returned to that spot to find 10 or so very healthy pigs in the comfort of their mother. They could not have been more than a few hours old. Oh, and the wind. Guess what? It had changed directions sometime in the middle of the night and was now blowing from the opposite direction, which somehow the Sow new in advance. But how? My Grandfather’s answer, her creator. It was as though God was laughing in my face, and then punched me in the stomach. I became physically ill for a moment, as the truth about all the God hype, became a reality. No way that Sow could have known the wind would change directions without some help. I felt small, but I also knew that neither my grandfather, nor myself, was in charge of anything. God was, through a system that God set up a long time ago, for us, and for all of creation. The two cats reminded me of the lesson I learned that day, and also reminded me that God was still in charge, no matter how foolish we humans acted towards each other, animals are moving along the bounds of creation with us, and sometimes guide us to act different; that element of life would playout again a few days later with an upside down pyramid. More to come………