Last night was the final night of the Boat Street shelter, staffed by workers from Compass Housing. The building will be torn down this month to give way to a community park on the edge of Seattle’s ship canal, near the University of Washington. In fact, it was a perfect set-up for a shelter – nice bathrooms in abundance, two large rooms, with plenty of space to spread out. But people have to have their park, I guess. Promises have been made.

So today, Nightwatch received a gift of mats. Workers from the City delivered them, and we have stashed them until another shelter opens, still a month away, maybe.

There were two truck drivers and little old me to unload the mats, with Ann keeping things straightened. The uncertain hygiene of our guests was immediately apparent. Strong human smells were evident at times as the mats were lifted and carried into the room.

God has blessed me with a strong stomach in adulthood. As a kid I was really squeamish. Now I think “That’s life!” when noxious fumes are encountered. These are people God loves, and we better not let our middle class Western notions of hygiene get in the way.

A 1st century Palestinian rabbi never ever wore deodorant.