I want you to pretend with me for a moment:
You’ve had a long Saturday outside; maybe you’ve been chopping wood for the wood pile, maybe you spent the day helping out at your kid’s Marching Band or Scout Troop Christmas tree lot, maybe it snowed and you needed to shovel the driveway. Finally the work is done though and you’ve got nothing else planned for the rest of the day and you’ve just made it back inside. Let’s also pretend you got up pretty early this morning and all this work has got every bone in your body aching. I don’t know about you, but I feel like a nap just thinking about this scenario. And you know what? I do take a nap when this sort of thing happens and it’s not a big thing. No one cares that I’m taking a nap on a lazy Saturday.
Now I want you try and imagine where you’d take a nap downtown? If you were absolutely dead on your feet and just needed just a few minutes to recharge (let’s say just 20-30 min), can you think of a single place were you could take a nap downtown? I can tell you, from a personal – and rather humiliating – experience that you are not welcome to catch (even accidental) Z’s in the library.
For many, many of our friends this thought experiment is far from being purely imaginary. Many of our friends day to day, week to week, month to month get a lousy night’s sleep wherever they can and then spend their day lugging all of their worldly possessions from one long line to get breakfast, across downtown to another long line to get to talk to someone about Social Security/Food Stamps/subsidized housing/etc, on to a line to get lunch. I’ve heard this story time and time again and my shoulders and back hurt just thinking about it.
I get exhausted just listening to these kinds of stories. I think many parents in particular can relate to what it means to have a hard time sleeping then and still having to get up in the morning. After a few days of not getting enough sleep it can eat away at your sanity.
Even if our friends are able to find that elusive place to rest, how do they know someone won’t start riffling through their stuff? How do we know that guy who’s got a beef with them won’t use this moment to get the drop on them? Security? That’s a “luxury” many of our friends don’t have much access to. And between the weather getting colder and loss of other safe spaces we need these kinds of things right now.
And so, we need your help.
If we can find $1,000-$1,200 of new regular donations we have the opportunity to create a space where some of our friends will be able catch a nap. No reading a book, no getting a cup of coffee, just a no-drama space for folks to get some rest and without disruption or worry.
Initially this will be just for a dozen matts or pews, one day a week (I’m assuming some folks will want 20-30 minute naps but others might need an hour or two, so how many people we might serve in a day is still anybody’s guess), but this could easily expand if we’re able to demonstrate how this works to other congregations in the future.
Last month I was in San Francisco and was introduced to The Gubbio Project who work with churches to turn empty weekday pews into cots for rest. We have the church! Now we just need the funds. Please consider joining with us to make this same kind of thing a possibility here in Portland.
Wether you or your organization is good for $5 a month or $500 we hope you’ll consider joining us in this project. Sign up for a regular (or one time) donation here or you mail checks payable to HOMEpdx to:
415 N School St.
Newberg, OR 97132.
Leave a note on your donation indicating you’d like it to go to the “Afternoon Nap”