I walked up to Roxanne this morning and asked her to release me. I need to stay away from the Mission today and clear my head. She understood and let me go until I have to be back for dinner and sign-in time at 5:30pm. No one else will be able to do that, but I am a unique case...so off into the morning mist, I walked.
And the same understanding prompted one of the chaplains to give me a new set of Sony ear buds. Now I can hear music on YouTube and on my Walkman radio, again. I really appreciate that!
Tomorrow I will go to a motel and I will also buy a new laptop. The laptop is my birthday present to me. Because, as some of you know, I am a September baby.
I am looking forward to going back online for an extended period of time via my own computer.
In the meantime, I want to make sure that you all know that I do appreciate what the Missions did for me...in York, Columbus and here in Norfolk, Nebraska. But there are some things that happened that I obviously DON'T appreciate or agree with.
And this post will deal with that.
What I liked that the Rescue Missions in York, Columbus and Norfolk, Nebraska did for me:
They provided me with food, shelter and a place to do my laundry.
What they did wrong:
1.) The shelter staff tried to tell me how to relate to God. But they didn't respect my individual connection WITH God. No one ever talked with me, one-on-one about God or Christianity. They were never concerned about my personal feelings about these matters. Therefor, I was constantly talked AT and never WITH.
2.) I was forced to avoid the men, altogether. That, to me, was an insult.
From the brouhaha last Sunday to being separated from the men during Bible studies, meals, etc. the gender division never made any sense to me, whatsoever.
3.) They told me how to dress and what I was supposed to do with just about every hour of my day.
4.) Concepts like EMPOWERMENT were never introduced or encouraged.
Here I am, a woman who has held onto the hand of God while hitchhiking for seventeen years...
...and I'm suddenly told that I am incapable of properly relating to men in a homeless shelter.
That makes about as much sense as Justin Bieber's black Ferrari getting rear-ended by a renegade Honda Civic.
God would run and hide if one of the men at a Rescue Mission began discussing housing or theology with me?
Does this mean that God relates to the poor people in homeless shelters DIFFERENTLY?
You want my honest answer to that burning question?
Okay. My answer is: Of course not!
Does this mean that a man that wears a shirt that's emblazoned with the Rescue Mission logo is an expert about god and the rest of us are spiritual idiots?
Again, my answer is NO!
Does this mean that the fact that I'm a female means that I have a second-class link to God and I always will?
Third answer: NO!!!
I know that Roxanne, Chaplain Wil, one of the morning guys at the shelter in Columbus and Chaplain Dave in York are the exceptions. They took it upon themselves to rise above the Rescue Mission's outrageous rules.
I will remember the experience at all three missions but I will never recommend that anyone stay for any length of time at a Rescue Mission shelter.