Festival Week's Eclectic Chaotic Peaceful Mayhem

While most of the members of Jesus People USA disappeared into rural Bushnell, to tirelessly work in the hot humid sun; while they're running Cornerstone Festival, with hundreds of bands and thousands of young people full of eclectic styles and energy, a few of us need to stay in the concrete jungle, keeping all of JPUSA’s Chicago operations running!

My responsibility is to keep our homeless shelter above water. We now have more people living at CCO than JPUSA; well over 400! I've done this for a number of years, and every year has many different variables, challenges and expectations! The number of staff, programs and clients has increased every year, so 2011 naturally saw the greatest number of all three!

To try and describe all the complete eclectic chaotic mayhem that happens in these 11 or 12 days is virtually impossible; it would literally take thousands of words. Honestly, such a mammoth task would bore the living snot out of me, let alone the few people who read my blog. My attempt here is to try to paint a hectic picture of all the crazed chaos, urgent mayhem and successful celebrations, coupled with frequent glimpses of redemption and the continued loving fellowship that never ceases within this "rejected community!" My attempt is to do this quickly...

With most of CCO’s main players gone, my responsibility is to cover their responsibilities. The secret to surviving the week is not in doing and controlling everything, but working on the art of prioritizing and saying that magic word “NO!” It can be an overwhelming week, riddled with anxiety, so therefore, it is vital to live out the verse I constantly encourage my co-workers and clients with: “Be still and know that I am God!”

In sum, I would say: Non-stop never-ending chaotic mayhem rained down, yet mysteriously, Peace still reigned! There was calm in the midst of the eclectic roller-coaster! That peace, that calm, that joy and that love could only manifest itself, if God is in control!

Now, here’s an attempt to frantically look at the past 12 days…..

Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls. They never ever ceased. All day. Every day. Big stuff. Small stuff. Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls…..

Mother too aggressive to her teenage son. Yells. Swears. Crying boy. Couple bruises. Police called. DCFS involved. Peace!

Papi's dialysis drop off.

Accusation of sexual harassment. Probably paranoia. Rescinded. Domestic altercation. Much weeping. Much acting. Apologies. Little resolution. Police determine hubby's fate! Cold hard cage. Wife with decisions to make.

More milk. More butter. Coffee. Creamer. Sugar. Salt. Etc. Off to the store. Repeat.

Drunk Derrick a conflict starter. Yelling, Threatening. Hugs. Apologies. Forgiveness.

Birth certificates. IDs. Licenses. Rap sheets. Always needed. Received. Eventually.

Registered sex offender discovered. "No No, we're sorry, you can't stay here." From CDFSS. Sent back.

7 people waiting outside my office door. Needing. Wanting. Complaining. Thanking. Begging. Pleading. Giving. Repeat.

Vitally important meeting. Ready for drastic change. Any day. What, where, how!

Dodged. Watched. Hot police pursuit while carrying Shawn's enormous TV through tight hallways and an awkward elevator. "the heaviest TV ever made!" He keeps hollering. Laughing. Screaming. Laughing.

Drove Walter to get check. Got supplies too! Listened to endless rant!

Bed bugs. Bit up. Swelling arms. Arrrrrrhhhhhhh! Will they ever go away?

Bus cards. Laundry cards. Never ending requests and reasons.

Dell blows sobriety contract. Discipline time! Anthony keeps sobriety contact. Reinstated!

Daniel arrested. Marijuana. Clobbered. Wilson. Broadway. Nose broken by police. Clients witness assault. Still sitting in cell.

Rebellious family constantly violating. Needs warning. Again. And again! And again!

Irate woman snaps at new family man. Accusations. He barks back. More accusations. Nothing new there.

Volunteer smoking in kitchen. Busted. Emergency late night run. Barred.

Storm results in electrical fire. Sparks. Kids fascinated. Did lightning really hit?

Blind lady’s family appointment. 6 kids. Far South Side. Needs transportation. Pace cards needed. Metra tickets needed also please! This time Waukegan. Another appointment! Man!

Second floor flooded by mysterious leak. Plumbers in Bushnell. The water flowed that day. Waterfall. Beastly hot. Unblocked air conditioner pipe. Thanks Thien. He came from Kankakee!

Two families. Constant arguing over TVs, loud babies. Threats. Racism. Working on resolutions.

Bees swarm onto Hannah House playground. Beth rescues them. Much drama. Kids fascinated.

Old man makes many verbal assaults. Gets physically assaulted by one. Others complain. Keeps blabbering. Insults staff. Justifies his actions. Isolated.

Watered roof top plants.

Client drugged out by a doctor’s prescribed monthly shot of Seroquel. 12 days to go! Looks like heroin addict. But he ain't! Drive slobbering dazed confused man to safety.

Suspended employee. Dirty drop. Suggested treatment. Suggested hospitalization. Many tears. Much praying. Constant swearing. Relentless counseling. What will the future hold?

Two older gang members fight. Over money. Police involved again.

Need emergency eggs now! Potato salad. 11 dozen please! Had just driven 500 miles. Deliver 15 dozen!

All important text; "these 3 are chosen. 100k. They will be housed shortly" Seek and find! Found! Appointments set!

Kept Ewayne housed. Helped pay rent.

Melissa lights almost off. Helped pay utilities.

Dana, Lazaro moved into apartments. Helped pay rent. Paid security deposit also.

Chris housed also. Many phone calls made. Yay, he’s too sick to be homeless.

Endy gets renewed CACD substance abuse license. Helped pay for that too. Aggressively hugs me. Tears of joy. Now pursuing employment.

Thomas changed his direction. 180 degrees. He's serious. Focused. Detoxing. Drug Free. Looking to the One. Now he's heading up!

Family of three successfully moves. Once Homeless and Jobless. Now employed and housed!

Oh yeah! Played 2 hands of dominoes with my 85 year old buddy!

The good outweighed the bad. Peace outshone the violence. Redemption overcame the bitterness. Forgiveness defeated the hatred. Compassion shone in the darkness. I smiled at the hand of Jesus gently guiding us through it all. Bringing hope! Bringing love! Bringing his Kingdom!

Well: That was my week: Scattered with countless phone calls, numerous requests, intense discussions and urgent determinations. It was a good week. Busy week. Relentless week. Peaceful week. God kept it flowing...,

Like He always does!
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