This update is long overdue, but I needed to sort out some things first. I wound up in the hospital last Thursday, because I exerted myself more than my body could easily handle, and was unable to easily recover. All I actually needed to do was to lie down for a bit, but I was at a women’s day shelter at the time, and since rules are worth more than people, there was no one in the place willing to allow me to lay on a floor for bit. I had to remain sitting up, and then they walked me out, which was when I vomited water and a bit of yellow bile from the over-exertion. Even though I was outside in their courtyard, and most of the staff was leaving, still I was not allowed to lie down anywhere, not on a bench and not on the ground. That was all I needed, but rules are rules and the simple needs of people clearly do not count.
They knew I was fasting, and that I am an experienced faster and know the simple need to rest, but since they are not familiar with fasting, they did not understand the simple need I had, to simply rest on the ground for a short while. I would have had at least three and a half more hours of exertion before I would be able to lie down, so that was how they convinced me to let them call the paramedics for me. “Joyous, if you let us call them for you, they will let you lie down.” And once that happened, they took me to a (wonderful) hospital, put some fluids into me, and did blood work, which of course showed that my numbers were off because I was fasting. They told me they wanted to keep me overnight, and I agreed. Once I was there, the fast could not continue, since my blood numbers would not get back to normal until I ate, so I decided to break the fast and re-consider what I was doing, what my reasons and goals were, and how I could continue.
I got out Saturday, Roberta drove all the way into town (really challenging for her but she did it for me), and we went back to her home to re-group. I felt sad, frustrated, and quite disappointed that I was not able to maintain the fasting prayer vigil for peace for all life, and thought I was heading back to Colorado, but then I realized that this prayer vigil for peace does not necessarily have to be a fasting vigil (though fasting does make more of an impact), it can still be a prayer vigil, and then my world lightened up again. I didn’t need to quit what I was doing, I only had to stop the fasting portion of it. I can still do a prayer vigil at the White House, or wherever I happen to be. I just needed to figure out where to be at night. The women’s shelter where I had a bed at night was not a viable place to be, and they had given away the bed anyway.
I had been thinking about Juliana (and the serendipity that brought us together), and her offer to let me use her couch when I needed to, so I called, went over and had a good talk with her, and yes I could stay there. I looked in her back yard and asked if I could put up my tent, which would be truly fabulous for me. She said it gets quite swampy out there if it rains a whole lot, but we could put down some pallets if it became necessary. They had their family conference and the three of them agreed to allow me to stay for the duration of this vigil, which I intend to now continue through Thanksgiving. I can use the house as I need to, come inside if it gets too cold, kitchen and bathroom are available, and I can have my own space, do what I need, and go into town (a simple 45 minute bus ride every day) and do the vigil. I do not yet have permission to set up a chair and my banners in Lafayette Park, but that is next, now that I will have a safe and sensible place to be at night. My higher hope is that I can just stay at Lafayette Park day and night in a lounge chair and bundled against the cold, as a continuous prayer vigil, but I am told that will never happen. I will put it into the application, but I will accept daytime only if that is what makes it feasible.
So today Roberta will be driving me and all the things I brought, hoping to use; and now I will be able to. Yay, I get to stay in my tent at night, and advocate for true peace for all life during the day. I know I won’t be able to keep my tent up at Lafayette Park, since whichever law enforcement breaks down anything left unattended, even for five minutes for a bathroom break. The rules are that I must be within three feet of my event and all my things at all times, or it’s null and void, and they will break it down and not allow it back up again. All these lovely wonderful rules, clearly made for the betterment of society and all it’s participants. Just in case you didn’t get it, that was sarcasm . And so the adventure continues.