Written by: Nurse James
It’s late April, at 8:45PM and our lobby is packed. It is snowing outside and cold. Minus 8, with windchill, minus 13. It’s very busy at the Drop-In.
*Jesse*is playing his new guitar in the lobby on the first floor. He received it as a gift for staying sober.
He plays a good rendition of Johnny B. Goode, and then goes onto some other Drop-In favorites; House of the Rising Sun, Rambling Man. He starts his version of Wild Horses and a young man joins in to sing with him. Soon the two are really in sync and as Jesse plays, his new partner belts out a five-minute rap song about street life and coming together and living at the D.I.
The crowd is right into the song, lots of people clapping and whooping along to the five minutes of singing and rapping.
Jesse swings his guitar over his head and with his arms bent backwards and his guitar inverted, begins playing the song faster and faster. His partner sings and raps faster and faster along with him.
As the song winds down and comes to a close, many in the lobby are on their feet cheering and clapping. The song ends, Jesse takes a bow and embraces his rapper friend. Everyone is now standing and giving the two a standing ovation, including the staff who are present.
It is a happy time. I am glad to see that so many can find so much joy and comfort in the short impromptu concert. Happy that so many are enjoying themselves despite the fact that they have next to nothing. Happy to see that so many people, from so many varied backgrounds and ethnic groups are standing together as one to cheer on one of their own.
They own so little, yet they have so much to live for. So many little opportunities, yet so much love, joy and attention they have to give to each other.
The laughter and smiles coming from the clients in the crowd is a stark contrast from the dreary attitudes that are usually present on a cold blustery day.
This is one reason I cite when people ask, “Why do you work at the homeless shelter?” Sometimes, they even ask me why I choose to come here instead of working elsewhere?
Because of the people I tell them.
The people here are like nowhere else. The people here are so close, and so caring. They have so much fun with so few items and possessions.
The short but energetic jam session had me seeing hope, not despair, laughter, not sadness, and something that a lot of people in this world crave and need the most, a sense of family and belonging.
*Not his real name*
Written by: Nurse James