It has been said that the chill of poverty never leaves the bones. Malidoma Some’, speaking at the Agape Revelation Conference in 2006 said, “Listen to your bones. Your bones know everything.” Author Natalie Goldberg teaches depth writing in her book “Writing Down the Bones”.
I share this because while I have appreciated the metaphor, I never truly understood this bone thing until I began to spend hours in a freezing cold building at 86th and Amsterdam. SANCTUARY NYC has the great gift of being a part of the breath of life returning to the historic West Park Presbyterian building. And for what seems like a long time now, there has not been a working boiler in that place.
I have come home from spending hours there and continued to feel “chilled to the bone”. No matter how much hot tea or how many hot baths, the cold in the bones takes longer to go. The bones DO have an intelligence all their own. Honestly I have been humbled by this experience. I understand in a whole other, visceral, embodied way that there are so many people worldwide who do not have adequate shelter, sufficient food, are not able to step in and out of their circumstance at will…and that I truly did not know what that might feel like.
Last night at 7:15, the connections were made, the spark ignited, the boiler began to work and the radiators became warm. We had been hovering over Chris the plumber for hours, watching him and his crew try to connect the pieces. Kevin from Con Ed was a happy guy who brought some humor and levity into our vigil. Councilwoman Gale Brewer, Rev. Bob Brashea, Rev. Tia Oliver and I were the midwives…trying to encourage the birth but not get in the way too much.
I was documenting in photos. Finally Chris’s assistant blurted out “You all are totally freaking me out by watching me !!!” LOL
Anyway… The birth of the working boiler was at 7:15 pm EST…A Capricorn boiler…HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you to everyone…for your good humor, your creativity, your contributions to the boiler fund. Thank you to the minister and members of West Park Presbyterian for being a center of creative energy…and for welcoming us into our new home.
I am better for having shared this journey with you.
Happy New Year.