watching the world rush by.....

We stand huddled together on the sidewalk, watching a busy world rush by
We prop each other up, as the eclectic Uptown crowd frantically passes by
We stand motionless, in the midst of the noisy surrounding chaos
We blend into the cold brick walls, happily being ignored and forgotten
We are two joined together, with a strangely mysterious love

We watch, because that is what we do....

We are bonded together by the ongoing fate of the streets and our homeless conditions
We are bonded together by our merciless fears and courageous protection of each other
We are bonded together by that seducing bottle and crippling illnesses that threaten our daily existence
We are bonded together by our penniless lives and families who continually shun us without remorse
We are bonded together by our cries to the Merciful Father and our own helplessness

We are bonded together, we are Sheina and Archie and we exist under the noisy red line on Wilson....

We watch parents frantically strolling their children to school
We watch rushing briefcases swaying to and fro trying to achieve the dream
We watch an explosion of cultures and religions wait for the 78 Montrose bus
We watch energetic teenagers yelling and jumping with bulging book-bags
We watch the Truman doors open followed by a rising flood of students

We keep watching, because that is what we do....

We see the minutely prosperous selling of squares thrive abundantly
We see elite snobs in their SUVs hesitate to secretly pay for that desired cigarette
We see a seller argue with a schizophrenic man because he's a business liability
We see another illegal business prosper bountifully due to it's never-ending demand
We see people of all cultures, races and social statuses surrendering to drugs addictive power

We keep watching, because that is what we do....

We watch a community of homeless folk, struggling to survive their daily trek
We watch the cigarette sellers getting arrested, only to be released 7 hours later
We watch as the public urinaters, turn-stile jumpers and drinkers face the same fate
We watch undercovers buying selling and arresting those enslaved by the drug trade
We watch many disappear in cuffs, only to longingly wait for that surprising reappearance

We keep watching, because that is what we do....

We remain in our stagnant state, watching the world with all it's injustice and contradictions
We remain standing there, despite the subtle harassment from latte drinking dog walkers
We remain in our silence, though cell-phones endlessly call 911 to protest our mere existence
We remain hunched over and fearful, despite the tragic shooting of yet another young life
We remain in our usual spot, though gangs try to govern the turf that surrounds our feeble knees

We keep watching, because that is what we do....

We just keep on standing, through the brutal heat of a Chicago summer
We just keep on standing, through the bitter cold, swirling snow and painful sleet
We just keep on returning to our spot, after countless ambulance rides to Emergency Rooms
We just keep on standing, despite our life-threatening seizures and congestive heart failure
We just keep on standing and standing and standing....

We keep watching, because that is what we do....

We vanish into every night soon after the sun refuses to shine
We wrap ourselves in multiple blankets away from the thugs who harass us
We awake every morning, thanking God for being blessed with yet another day
We limp every day to Father Powell's, seeking God's forgiveness and redemption
We dose ourselves with endless and purposeful prayer for deliverance

We don't want to be homeless, though people assume we do
We don't want to stand in the same spot every day, though people assume we do
We don't want our comfort and peace to be just in local hospital beds
We don't want to be unable to move beyond the city blocks that surround us
We don't want to be alone, forgotten and forsaken, though people assume we do

We pray for and need deliverance from our endless bondage, yet mysteriously and surprisingly, that deliverance entered our dark tunnel....

As we stood sucking in the exhaust fumes of the trucks and buses that rumble down Wilson Avenue, we were noticed and engaged by some concerned locals. We had often staggered into their shelter and enjoyed many meals in their soup kitchen. Their mission is simple; live the way of Jesus, love the poor and embrace the "least of these". We'd only ever been noticed by our homeless and precariously housed buddies, some local gang-bangers who watched out for us and, of course, Uptown's police. We had now become a face, a person and a name to a new and loving people; a group that existed outside of our small fragile circle. We were experiencing a rush of fresh flowing water that was pushing our stagnant pool away. We were scared, but they gave us new found hope!

They knew some rules had to be bent, so every night they opened their doors and gave us beds
They knew we needed direction, so they held our hands and refused to let go
They knew we would fail to keep appointments, so they changed course by driving us
They knew success comes through networking, so they united forces and fought as one
They knew progress was a long difficult road, so they persevered through every trial

We no longer need to stand and watch the endless chaos on Wilson Avenue....

We now sit without fear, in the comfort and safety of our own small apartment
We now sleep in the warmth of our own bed, without pressure to "get up and out"
We now pick and choose whatever food we wish to eat, with our own new incomes
We now get the rest we desperately need, so our bodies are being restored and renewed
We now raise our arms with thankful adoration, in our own peaceful spot

If you DO see us standing under the EL at Wilson and Broadway....

please remember, we come to recall what once was but no longer is
please remember, you are seeing a healthier version of what once was
please remember, we come to fellowship with a people that propped us up and kept us living
please remember, chilling here is now a choice and we will be returning to a place we call "home sweet home"
please remember, that you are seeing and witnessing a glorious modern day miracle

and most importantly....
please remember, the wonderful love and compassion of the Heavenly Father who heard many cries, noticed much pain, saw continual grief and delivered two wretched souls struggling to survive on Uptown's messy streets!
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