The heat broke overnight. I discovered this by going on my iPhone and checking the weather app – not by actually going outside. It said it was 60 degrees. That meant it was cooler outside than it was inside. I turned off the AC and tried to open the windows. They opened with ease. I tied back the curtains and opened the window in the rear bedroom as well. The breeze was a godsend. By late morning, the downstairs windows were open too and fresh air had moved the heat and stench out of the house. The neighborhood was still unfamiliar, but it was looking less ominous. I sat by the window to read but became more and more intrigued with the activities of the people below.
I am still trying to get my hands around the work of The Simple Way and what I need to learn from it. This day had brought two encounters with the community – morning worship, and an opportunity to meet with their CEO (“cEO with a small c,” they said). I had been frustrated in my attempts to connect with the organization in the ways I wanted. I knew that if I had work to do – ministry to engage in – I would feel more comfortable. I would have a purpose. But that’s not their model. They do not believe in short-term volunteers. Ministry grows out of deep relationship and in order to be a part of the ministry of The Simple Way you need to make an 18-month commitment to live in community. The Hospitality House provides an opportunity to ‘come and see’ but not touch. They seemed to believe there would be value in this kind of exposure, so I was going to trust that they were right.
By evening of the second day, I was sitting on the front steps of the house waiting for Rob to arrive on the Market-Frankford Line. He was coming to join me for the Midrash conversation that night – a class on Liberation Theology. It dawned on me then how much had shifted in little more than 24 hours: from doors and windows closed and locked and me hiding behind them, to sitting outside on the front stoop – the windows to the house wide open – waiting for my husband to arrive. It’s not my neighborhood, but I’m starting to recognize it.