My second day at The Simple Way went over really well, where I was able to understand more about what a regular looks like for the staff.
I woke up just in time to make it to morning prayer at 8. There was about five of us, incense and candle, and an eastern sort of bell that was wrung to begin prayer. We recited together a few pages out of a daily prayer book which included in it some hymns, prayed quickly for specific neighborhood needs, five minutes of silence, and we were done. It too about twenty minutes, it was very simple and ordinary, minus the bell, which was supposed to create more of a spiritual environment, and I liked it.Later I asked about the five minutes we spent in silence and if anyone had heard of Centuring Prayer, a method of prayer that I have come to love, and they said that is what they were doing. This prayer method, taught by Thomas Keating and other Christian monastics, is a time of detachment from your personal identity to be better receptive to the will and identity of God. I was stoked to share this common interest with everyone at The Simple Way.
After morning prayer, I invited Shane, Aaryn, and the girls over for some Bravo coffee, and then we all headed to the office to start work at nine. I hand wrote about ten thank you letters to people who had sent in a donation in the last weeks. it took me about three hours and in between I was able to use the internet for a few minutes. I had been depraved for three days and as a couchsurfer, I depend on the internet to make connection with people for a place to sleep.
After seeing th eoffice more closely I realized how small the Simple Way really was. With only 8 people on staff including Shane and his new wife, I realized this is something that anyone can do, anywhere.
Aaryn, myself, and the ladies (i forgot thier names) made a few pizzas for lunch, and afterwards when they had to go back to work, I borrowed a bike, got directions to downtown Philly, and took off on the half hour ride. I was mostly flat, and I was able to see alot more of Philadelphia on a bike instead of being underground on a subway. It is a beautiful city, not so enclosing as New York, but with all the historical architecture. On a bike, I was passing cars left and right, and it didn't feel dangerous like i think it would in New York City. I ate at Shane's favorite Philly Cheesteak joint, taking in as much of Philadelphia's culture that i can during my last full day.
A really Philly Cheesteak Sandwhich
I made it back to Kensington just before it rained. On the way back I saw Shane and his wife on a tandom bike who were just heading out, and later saw them pull up in the neighborhood totally soaking wet. It was pretty funny.
At six we all met at Shane's house to cut scarves out of blue fabric, which Shane was gonna use at a speaking event that weekend to represent the blue sky that shines bright over America is the same blue sky that shines over Afghanistan. As an activist, Shane is fighting for peace ini the Middle East and does not believe in war. I'm still not sure what I think about it. Shane has been there twice, once injured because of the war and has experienced the people thier suffering because of the war. Is America the casue of thier suffering or is it the Iraqi government, or both? I think my opinion doesn't matter much on the political and military end of things, but i know I believe in a peace between the major religions of both countries. Muslim's and Christians must learn to accept one another, no matter the outcome of the war.
Anyways, tomorrow I leave this wonderful place back to New York to catch my flight onward. I really want to get a picture with Shane and his crew, but I am trying to be modest about it. Im sure he doesn't car to be idealized by so many of his readers. he says in his books that he is just an ordinary radical, just as ordinary as you or I. During my time here at The Simple Way I have realized that helping people and communities around us doesn't have to be a big production. Loving God is very simple when simply loving others.