Today, I entered a new door.
I moved into Jesus
People USA, aka Hippies for Jesus. It’s community style living where the
residents serve the poor and homeless in Uptown, Chicago, of which I am one of
them. It’s where I’ll be staying until whatever door opens next.
Julie Andrews, the housing director, let me into my new home.
Make that a not so new.
While Julie shares the name of the world’s favorite singing nanny, her voice
was closer to Peppermint Patty from Charlie Brown.
She brought me up the elevator of Friendly Towers, the building Jesus People
share with an old folks home. My nose took in the smell of cigarettes and
Julie used her hip to pop open the old door. “Make yourself comfortable, but
not too comfortable. You’ll be staying here for a few weeks.”
I looked at my new nano-digs, about four hundred square feet of Post modern
grunge, complete with a hissing radiator and thirty layers of paint. It
reminded m of the apartment you see on a police shows where the detective finds
the dead heroin junkie in the Bronx. I pushed away the tattered curtain to peer
out the window, trying to ignore the bullet size hole in the thick glass. I
smiled when I saw who was outside my window: Christ himself.
He was glowing on top
of local church followed by the words DIED FOR OUR SINS.
“Want to peep the bathroom?” Julie smiled.
Her hand reached for where the knob on the door should be.
“Where’s the knob?”
“Oh, there’s only one,” she chuckled, “Make sure you keep it on the inside of
the bathroom when you are doing your business so you don’t get locked in.”
“You’re kidding.” I looked around the small bathroom. A row of dead
plants on the windowsill, the walls screaming lime green.
“No.” She pointed to the community knob on the inside of the door.
“So if you don’t bring the knob, bring your phone so you can call for
help.” Then she pointed to the other knobless door.
“Or, you could knock on the door of Loretta.”
“Loretta,” Julie tossed her long hair back. “You’ll be sharing
your bathroom with her.” Julie shoved the knob on the door and popped it
open, revealing a room that was bride’s maid periwinkle decorated with stuffed
animals and butterflies “But don’t worry, she’s as timid as a mouse.”
I crinkled my nose her beanie babies.
“Relax about the knobs. Remember, you can only go thru one door at a time.”
Julie placed the brass orb in my hand, the metal cold and smooth. “Call me
later if you need anything.”
I looked around and wondered what new adventure I was entering Knowing that the
knob-less junkie suite was only my temporary living quarters, I didn’t call
HGTV for help. Instead, I placed my Prada boots on the ledge of the loft bunk,
stickied a few photos of my mom on the wall, and then, kicked myself for not
bringing a toilet warmer from China. The porcelain on the toilet was cold and
it wasn’t even December yet.
Finally, I placed the door knob on my book shelf.
Maybe it was good I only had one. I tend to always care about “what’s next”
instead of the door that’s directly ahead of me. I looked at my reflection in
the brass and wondered what lesson it might hold, like one of those lofty
quotes I had to memorize in the 8th grade. Doors to success, opportunity
knocking, or a knob without a door trying to find its purpose.
Hmm. Maybe God is trying to teach me a lesson, I smiled.
But when I remembered the dead plants in the bathroom , I realized the true
meaning of the one knob.
The building is managed by hippies.