Deborah convinces Mary Ellen, a “plucky” friend of hers, to join them at the mission. Ron and Deborah met Mary Ellen and her husband, Alan, through mutual friends and invited them to their house so their children could play in the pool. Mary Ellen is initially mortified by Ron and Deborah’s massive home and apparent wealth, but Deborah sets her at ease by offering to babysit her children so Alan and Mary Allen could have some time free of children. Mary Ellen’s boldness rubs off on Deborah, and soon they are helping not only at the mission but also at the Lot with Sister Bettie.
In the same way that Deborah disarms the skepticism of the homeless by simply spending time with them, Deborah disarms Mary Ellen’s wariness of their wealth by offering to babysit. Both of these instances demonstrate the power of human relationships and simple acts of service or friendship to bridge divides between people, especially those imposed by apparent inequality of status or wealth.
Ron and Denver’s friendship continues, but Denver feels guilty facing the people on the street he’s hurt or threatened, and he “often disappear[s] when asked to do ‘Christian’ things.” Even so, Deborah is happier than ever and her marriage with Ron grows continually stronger. That joy persists in the Lot as well, and she often returns with small bits of wisdom she has heard from the people there. After she meets a man who seems joyful simply to have woken up, “We woke up!” becomes a daily refrain between Deborah and Ron.
As Denver begins to soften, his street persona, which he has worn for decades, comes into conflict with his newer, gentler one. The shame that Denver feels when seeing the people he used to threaten again indicates that the version of himself that threatened violence was not his true self, but merely a mask he adopted to survive. Without that mask, such violence and threats seem shameful to him.