Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

Mystic Micro-Gospels; small spiritual stories in and around my neighborhood in Southeast CT

"If I was the one interviewing her", she says gently, "I probably would have said that she isn't eligible... but, I wasn't the one who was talking with her..." I marvel silently at the gentle way she corrects me... teaches me... helps me not burden her with the hard choice that I have to make instead.

She navigates the tricky waters between the needs of the institution and the needs of the ones who come here for help, and she is helping me to see the rocks and the shoals. Somehow, we have to discern who is vulnerable and who has other options... even if they seem unpleasant, maybe impossible to those who present here. "I try to remember that if we give a bed to someone who has options, then we will deny one to someone more vulnerable who does not... Would you like me to talk to her?" she asks. She probes a little into my emotional state... I haven't been volunteering in this way for long and she's not quite sure how I will react. "No, I know how to deliver bad news.... "

I get up and go out to do it. There is a hard tension in this balance... I don't want to tell someone that the needs of the shelter outweigh the needs of the broken person sitting beside me on the steps.... But it's not the first time I have had to deliver a message like that.