Over 250 people attended Socktoberfest this year, many of them homeless folks who came for food, socks, music and nobody preaching at them. They got that and more from a wonderful event put on by the Emmaus Community in Everett. The Catacomb Churches attended to support the event and to learn from the event.
When it was over I began to mop the floor. As a custodian's child, I know how to do that.
About half way through I noticed that a very thin, small woman was still in the room. She obviously had schizophrenia as she was gesturing and talking to people who were not in the room, at least that I could see.
As I was mopping I began to get closer to her. Several of the organizers tried to ask her to leave, as it was closing time. She wasn't moving much. One of them asked me to try to encourage her to leave.
As I got closer I tried to talk to her. She had also had a tracheostomy and could not speak out loud. Over a few minutes time she became more agitated. She began to push me away - obviously my 6 foot 3, wide shoulder frame was scaring her.
She grabbed my mop handle. I had to wonder if she was going to hit me with it. But I decided to give it to her. She pushed the mop and the bucket to one side. She then, rather gently, pushed me toward a bench near the bucket. Then she gestured for me to sit down.
I decided to sit.
I thought, how often has she been pushed around by men? How often has she been discounted, rejected, abused, raped, or yelled at by men? I didn't know and I never will.
I really wanted to be able to heal her from her mental illness. But I could do one thing. Sit down when she needed me to.
After about five minutes her attention moved on and she began to pack up to leave. So I went to the other side of the room and began to mop again.
We ended the evening with a simple Eucharist, an extension of the Eucharist that had happened many times that night, as people of many different backgrounds and life-situations ate, listened to music, and were human with one another