LB Walker has found that work at Constance Abbey is sometimes a 24-hour undertaking. Here is his description of a night this past week: “It’s okay. I sleep sitting up,” he says. Mr. B—–, a man in his 60’s, is gentle and soft-spoken. His kindly disposition makes it even harder to have to watch him sleep in the cold. “Are you going to go to the warming center,” we ask him. “No, no, no…” He mutters. “Got to be at work [selling Commercial Appeals at intersections] at 3a.m.]. I’ll be fine [sleeping] at the bus stop. “We convince him to go if he will let us pick him up from the warming center around 2 a.m. So, he finally goes. He pops to his feet like a much younger man but with his gaze to the ground. He slings the garbage bag and backpack full of his possessions over his shoulder, and walks to the curb where he slings it back down, sits, and waits. “You need a sleeping bag,” we ask. He responds, “No, thank you,” and tells us he sleeps sitting up, then, motions us to come over like he has a secret. “Closer,” he says motioning to us. “Closer, closer. Here,” he pulls out a crisp $20 bill, his gaze still fixed on the ground. “Take this. I appreciate everything y’all do for me. “We don’t take the money, of course. But, we’d be lying if I didn’t admit that we need it,… badly. It goes to pay for things like the gas we used to pick him up at 2 a.m.
During the season of Thanksgiving our staff Adam Krosnick had an idea of celebrating and acknowledging all of our generous neighbors and friends through a gratitude board on display in our clothes closet. Every month us staff here at Constance Abbey spend time looking through our photographs and choose ten pictures of all of our favorite moments with neighbors and volunteers that help out.
Our neighbors and volunteers often give their time and energy to help us sweep, mop, clean up outside, set up and host classes, or even donate clothes sometimes even the shirt or jacket off their back. It’s our way of letting them know that ALL of our donors and givers here at Constance Abbey are appreciated and loved. The board was a big hit, and everybody loves to see who will make it up there each month.
Adam Krosnick, having little to no artistic talent enlisted the help of his friend Mike Smith who makes watercolor and freehand drawings right here on the streets of Memphis. Mike, who also helps with chores, was one of our first people to get put on the board.
Gratitude is an important part of the Christian walk of life and Constance Abbey is unique in that we truly live, work and worship alongside those we serve. This neighborhood atmosphere is reflected in the pictures we have on the Gratitude board, so come on by and say hello!
All of the staff expresses our deep gratitude to our volunteers, neighbors and donors! What we do here is only made possible by the generous contributions of all the givers that support our ministry.
Consider joining us for the Rivendell Community gathering on most Saturday evenings in Memphis at 5:30 p.m. for Evening Prayer, a shared meal and conversation, reflection on the Sunday Gospel, and Compline. Usually meets at a Midtown location. For more information, and the location of the Saturday night gatherings, please contact Murray McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 901-277-8867.