Just Be Ready!

Just Be Ready!

“The only way to get something for nothing is to be lucky.

It’s easy to be thankful when you lucky.

Everyone wants to be lucky.

If I can’t be lucky

I’ll just be ready.

Psalm 126 Ivan Anderson, student, Psalms in Ordinary Voices: A Representation of the 150 Psalms by Men, Women, and Children.

“The great illusion of leadership is that man can be lead out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” Henri Nouwen

Last night I received an email from a friend, whom I have not even talked to in over a year, telling me that three Catholic Workers, had contacted him about my post where I shared being taken to the police station for being drunk, and was wondering if they should try to get me in a program. It amused me because if someone posts on
Face Book about having trouble with depression, suicidal thoughts etc, I contact them by phone, directly. It amused me because in reality there are no Catholic Workers in the area I consider friends, colleagues maybe, but certainly not friends, since I never see them. Rather than come to me directly, they went to another, made me wonder if I scare people that much.

Social media puts us in a surreal world. We can read, and not understand. The post was written to share my own journey, and to be open in case the press tried to accuse me of hiding it. This was a one time thing, and I wondered how much gossip and harm I have caused myself, and possibly others by this post. We are never aware of the harm we do on social media. My friend told me he thought I made a mistake, and apparently as always he was right.

I also realize I may have caused harm to others through my open posts during the past year when I have been sick. I had very little face to face contact with anyone, and so in sharing I said things that probably should not have been said, and I am sorry. Social media falsifies friendship and leads us to say things we should not say. The developers of Face Book use the term “friends”, and cheapens the real meaning, of loyalty, devotion, and sharing. 

On my desk I have two photos of me sitting with my friend at a bungee jump in Mexico. It had been a rough week, but the one thing I knew was that this was my friend, because through the last four years, and when I was sick, he was with me, and we shared with each other in person and on social media, but when things got tough always in person. The sharing personally builds bonds, not social media, sharing the flesh and blood with one another, builds the bonds. This bond which is unbreakable is not co-dependence, but a bond built through sharing, suffering, fighting, and always coming back together. It is a bond built on openness and honesty. Not one built on surreal interchanges on social media.

In the City there are homeless on every corner, in L.A. pretty much everywhere accept the Palisades. This morning I saw people scavenging for food on the tables at a restaurant across the street. In Marin I see people pan handling on car ramps. It tears my heart up, and when I am told I need to take a break, or harden my heart by well meaning people I can not, for one thing it is impossible to take a break living in the City–homeless are every where,  and to harden my heart, when I live sometimes on the edge would be in humane. 

When you have been in the desert you can never harden your heart. I am overwhelmed with raising money for the number of kids I work with on the street. And it is difficult with the numbers increasing.

We are all in the desert whether we want to admit it or not. We can hide, we can look the other way, but we are all in the same boat. Jesus became the Son of Man in living his life to fullest with people. That is our possibility.

As our young high school psalmist tells us, we should be “ready”. I have been lucky for so many years, now my luck has run out, so I am simply going to be ready, to be open to what comes, to take the tumbles, the pain, and live and walk with it. There are no certainties in life, no black and white guarantees, life is always uncertain, and only in living the uncertainties, living in the desert and being ready can we ever begin to grasp our own true humanness, and I am trying, but just beginning. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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