Archive for May, 2018

Being Honest

May 21, 2018

BEING HONEST

This week end ended up for me in a way that has been the most embarrassing  in the time I have been in San Francisco. In fact it is the culmination of my experience in the last year. I feel so ashamed.

Saturday night I got so drunk I took a walk in Marin, and was picked up. I do not remember a thing. When I woke up the next morning a Captain came down and told me “There will be no charges, and all records of you being brought in will be deleted.” Privilege once again saved my ass. Well I do not feel privileged any more. I felt ashamed, embarrassed my friends, and I realized for the first time the work ahead, and what I had been looking at in therapy was really real.

For the first time I really faced the trauma of the past year, and admit I need to squarely meet it in the face. In therapy we have talked about the effect of truma, but I could not bring myself to really recognize the pain and destruction it was causing.   I am putting this on Facebook and social media because I want say I really do not give  a damn any more about what “advice” people give me–for each response that is negative, and that is judgmental, and that assumes one know me is painful, and that I have to listen that “still small voice,” that has always lead me home, and I am putting this on social media frankly to come out with the fact that I am far from perfect, and that all of us are far from perfect, we have warts, and it is accepting each other that we find healing for each other.Until we face that fact we are going to be hurt, and hateful, it is in recognizing each other as fellow travelers on the way that we find healing.

Last June when I accepted the responsibility of being chaplain for a young man on trial for murder my “assumption” was that my friends and others would understand I was just doing my job.

But it brought me back to a time in my first parish, on the first week there,where the “town bully” was shot in broad day light in the middle of the street–and no one saw anything, and no one has ever been brought to justice–I was asked to do his funeral because every other pastor in town refused, and I did the funeral. Afterward I provided pastoral care for his widow and children. For the next year and a half in that town I was shunned, threatened , hated by the towns people. I left there broken.

In the same way through old friends walking away, face book, social media, drop in donations, it began with this decision. I was counseled to let “this person go.” I do not let people go when they are in need of pastoral care, period.  Added to that was that was four deaths, one of which witnessed, and another where  I was there soon after, and holding both in my arms. At night I have night mares of the blood. And than the two surgeries, one of which I am still recovering from.

I have felt like I was drowning for along time,  thinking  of running away,and sometimes even suicide of which I know there is no possibility. So I began smoking pot and drinking heavily, to cover the fear and the pain of being alone. People always comment I know a lot of people and have a lot of friends. I am surrounded by people, people like being around me, but they are not friends, I have few friends, and now they are even less. Life has become very lonely.
This incident has made me hellar lonely, hellar afraid, and as my therapists said the first time “you see what we have been talking about, and you can face it.” He also told me: “It is in these times you know who your friends are, and you also know you have a gift for accepting people as they are.”

And so I get up, and I begin a gain.  I trust in Christ who loves me no matter what. What the future will bring, I do not know. whether it is here, I do not know, but what I know is ministry, and is my call, and I am depressed, afraid, scared as hell, wobbly, but I have to look the devil in the eye and and face the pain, I can not run away from this pain. There are no easy answers, but joy will come in the morning, joy will come in the morning. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

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Reflecting

May 18, 2018

John 21:15-19–Reflect

Ramadan, the Muslim period of fasting, is a way of identifying with those forgotten in our society who have no food, housing, or support. Our papers are full of articles about the homeless, and our Mayoral campaigns have plans for solutions.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast and pray from sun up to sundown, and remember the marginalized, at night they celebrate with a large meal, and pray. They feed the marginalized.

As we fast, as our stomachs starts to growl, and as we pass by restaurants where we normally eat, we get a sense of what it means to be with out–to not be able to have the money to buy something in order to go the restroom, to be unable to buy something to fill our stomachs.

Let us join the Muslims in this period of fasting, maybe just forego one meal a day,give the money to someone on the street,  and as we go about our daily business, to look at people on the street, and begin to see them just like us–insecure, lonely, afraid of friendship, hungry both externally, and internally, and reach out and walk with them as brothers and sisters. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

http://www.temenos.org

Riodamien1@gmail.com

My Bags Are Packed and Ready to Go!

May 13, 2018

My Bags Are Packed And I am Ready to God!

Last night at 11:08 p.m. was the anniversary of my brother’s Stacy’s death. He was taking his driving test  the next day and so we were practicing. He skidded, and Stacy died instantly, and I did not receive a scratch. I remember holding his head in my arms as we waited for am ambulance in the small town I served a church in. He was my life, he was the most important person in my life, and he was gone. His  death have shaped my life in good ways and in bad ways. I still blame myself for letting  him talk me into driving so late. And always on this night I see his face in those moment of holding his head.

A minister friend said to me after the funeral: “You now have a choice you can let his death define you in rigid ways, or let it free you into being who you are supposed to be,” and that is what his death did, freed me into living life in the fullness with out judgment, which I am still growing in. It also brought me into dark areas–that is why I live in the gray areas, nothing is black and white.

That is one of the reason’s that on the anniversary of deaths close friends and relatives of people I know I spend time with them, life moves on, but loss never fully does.

I was at a friend’s last night, thinking I could get through the night without crying, and I knew as the time approached, I was going to start crying. So I left. I am glad I left because I stopped on my way home and cried for an hour or so. Until today I never shared one word with them.

At 3:00 a.m. I received a phone call to come to the hospital where a fifty year old with ALS was dying, and I gave him the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and sat by his bed until 6 a.m. when he died. I saw a body ravaged by illness, ravaged to complete destruction. He has no family, his family rejected him because he was gay.

This morning I preached at a church in a fog, with much heaviness hanging over me.

Life is not fair. Scott Peck tells us that when we realize that life is difficult, than we can find enjoyment—life is difficult.

Right now I sit here and feel totally alone, for I feel like I fail with people, especially those I am the closest too, and I do the best that I can, but I feel like I fail.  I have a bag, ready to walk out and just go. Each day I struggle, and each day, I say the Apostle’s Creed and keep on tracking.

But what I do know is that I am good with sitting with people in their suffering, pain, fear, loneliness, and dying, listen, and be present to them.

  Memorial Service for Robert (Bob Reid)

Fern Alley, 1:00 p.m., Monday, May 14, 2018

The Call To Worship:

Affirmation of Faith: (Unison)

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven,

is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life ever lasting. Amen.”

Call to Prayer, Pastoral Prayer, The Lord’s Prayer

Reading of the Holy Scripture: Psalm 23, Selected from John

Remembering Bob—Any one is invited to Share

Prayers

Benediction

Fr. River Damien Sims. D.Min.

http://www.temenos.org

415-305-2124

 

The Street of Broken Dreams

May 9, 2018
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams–Green Day
I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s only me, and I walk alone
I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk alone
I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone
Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah
I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone
Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and every thing’s all right
Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive
And I walk alone
I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone
Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah
I walk alone, I walk a
I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk alone
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

————————————————————————————————

Last night I came home from visiting a friend in Marin around 3:30 a.m. As I walked towards home from parking the car people started coming from no-where. They simply wanted to talk, and be heard.  On the “street of broken dreams”, there is no one, people are alone, they are fragmented, afraid, and simply feel life has no meaning. Walk these streets after the bars are closed, on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and on rainy nights, and you will feel the pain of the “street of broken dreams.”

A recent study concluded that there were three reasons that people lived into old age in a healthy manner, all three having to do nothing with food, diet, or  exercise.  Two were having people you can hang out with, have fun with, and who will loan you money if you need it, the top was chatting with people in daily life, and the third:

“Having people to sit with you in the existential moments of life.” To have some one with you at those times when the veil is thin between life and death, between total loneliness, and ,  when life seems to have no meaning, and you seem worthless. In the past few months I have had people with me on my journey with this surgery, they gave me hope, meaning, and when people seemed to walk a way they stood with me. One of them says to me when I thank him, “No problem”, and he has no idea how he was there when the world seemed to walk out. I remember the look in his eyes as he visited me when three days after the surgery, and I was in so much pain–a look of care, of love, that still haunts me in its realness.  What we do always has meaning–whether we know it or not.

One of our mayoral candidates talks of “having tough love” with the homeless. I believe that if we walk with people in their “existential moments” that individuals can see life has meaning, and that in being held in love,despite  themselves, we see our worthiness, and from that lives are transformed. When I was a whore on the streets of LA, at my lowest point, my friend River reminded me each day that I was worthy, how much I helped him, and what I had to offer by going back into ministry.  He stood with me in my “existential moments of life,” and my friends these past months have done the same thing.

Homelessness is not going away–but what each one of us can do is to walk out of our doors and show care by listening to people in their “existential moments”,  move out of ourselves, move away from social media, and touch the lives of people, not just one time , but each and every day, and change will come in them, but more importantly in you. Find one person, and become his or her friend in the “existential moments!”  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

Temenos Catholic Worker