Day in the Life of an Urban Monastic – Take 2

6 am

I wake.  Tossed and turned a fair bit in the night.  Sleep gets a bit out of whack when Kirk is on night watch…

7:30 am

Waiting for a bus.  I’m learning to navigate the quirky Hamilton Transit System.  After a long wait I discover the Canon bus doesn’t run this early on a Sunday, so it’s the Barton Bus for me.  The #2 Barton is always an adventure.  Today I learn from a grizzled old Portuguese man how he clung to the side of a high building for 3 1/2 hours when the scaffolding on his work site broke.  Four of his co-workers died that day.  “Relax, they tell me!  Howmy gonna relax!”  Again, I meditate on how car ownership has in the past separated me from my community and my neighbors.  I feel much more grounded in my neighborhood when walking and taking public transit.

10:00 am

I’ve been in the prayer room for a couple hours already.  We’re winding up a week of 24-7 prayer for World Missions today, graciously hosted by Wentworth Baptist.

A whirlwind blows through the prayer room – well, actually its a Sunday School Class.  Some write prayers on the walls, others just ricochet around the space like pinballs.  A young man in his mid teens lingers.  He gets out his hockey stick and puck.  “Sorry,” I say, “hockey in the hall, not the prayer room.”  He gets another idea and hunts down a Monopoly game.  “Do you have a table we can set up in here and play?”  Again I remind him we are here for prayer.  “You don’t have to stay all day if you’re bored.”  “No, it’s ok,” he responds. “I don’t really like being at my home.  Here’s good.”  He stays most of the afternoon, eventually writing down prayers for the Hamilton Tiger Cats on the walls.

2:30 pm

Got a break before my evening shift.  I walk a few blocks south to visit a new friend I met at the prayer truck.  I am greeted with gracious hospitality and served lovely tea and pie.  “I made it in my electric frying pan, because my oven door doesn’t close,”  she says.  Another friend pops in, and we all pray together.  I move on to my next errand.  A couple streets over, I pick up the book I have to read in preparation for my Uganda trip in the spring.  It’s called “When Helping Hurts ~ How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself”.

My friends aren’t home, but the book is in the mailbox.  I sit on their porch for an hour, taking in the lovely autumn afternoon, devouring half of the book and amusing myself wondering what the neighbors think of strangers roosted on the porch.

8 pm

Tearing down the prayer room.  I always feel so conflicted at this point.  What to do with all the prayers people have poured out on the newsprint?  I carefully photograph it all, then start ripping away.  The whole thing comes down a lot faster than it went up!  The room is then reset for it’s next incarnation – the headquarters of the church’s Out of the Cold program.  I’m glad that prayer and loving service happen in the same place.

10 pm

I text a couple friends in my small group.  Does anybody know how to fix an oven door?  Find a handyman and set up a visit for tomorrow.  Maybe next week I can have pie cooked in the oven….

3 thoughts on “Day in the Life of an Urban Monastic – Take 2

  1. Thanks for your invitation to be a doorkeeper. It was my first 24/7 experience. I loved watching the newsprint fill in… it gave a visual reminder to the layering upon layering of prayers that occurred in that room over the week. I was glad to see the photos frorm the end of week to compare to the mid-point. Thank you, Jill.

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