"A Yawn is a silent SCREAM for COFFEE" "Hey! You all want coffee?" exclaimed a young woman reading our sign, her mouth filled with braces. She came over to us, clutching a tray with a large McDonald's coffee. "Here you go... Oh, there's a bunch of you!?!? Here's a dollar to get another."
We introduce ourselves learning her name is Rosemary. "I got $20 yesterday for telling a guy off for being gross. Never got money for that before..."
Since there were a bunch of us, some of us went to McDonald's while others got to know her more. She'd been on the road for a few months and had been travelling before.
Later Elizabeth and I would accompany Rosemary up the street along with her friend Giant. From time to time she would stop, pick up a smashed but only partially consumed cigarette, and continue walking, mumbling a quick prayer of thanksgiving after each discovery. She and Giant, mostly Giant, told us a story about trans people being aliens unable to comprehend gender which devolved into a general existential malaise and eventually nihilism.
"But love has to win." I proclaimed.
"I mean, whether or not that's true, it's really the only way to live." Rosemary mumbled a quick agreement as we arrived at our destination.
"Need any tobacco?" she asked, "I have a bunch."
Staying in the park a few days this spring, I learned a lot about myself like my fear of not having enough and my tendency to protect resources that we might need tomorrow. By contrast, I experienced great generosity and thanksgiving from Rosemary and others.
I love that we get to join with God's work in the Haight and Golden Gate Park, that we not only get to serve but also learn from our friends.