The other day I was over at the the church at Gresham, checking out the condition of the Trees. Now we have some on going issues with the neighborhood Associations, but there are a few people over there who Just really Hate people in General and the homeless in particular.
So on this day one of these folks walked the whole length of the property from Glisan all the way over to the southwest corner to tell me how much he hated the homeless. Then when he couldn’t get a rise out of me, he grabbed my arm and turned me around and got so close to my face I could smell his decaying teeth. “Ya know who I really hate the most?”,his voice low and grating,
“God?”, I offered up.
“No, I hate you. I hate you because of what you do. I hate you because you love them.”
“The Homeless,” I clarified.
“The Vermin. You and them need to be exterminated. If it were legal I would gladly kill you and your wife and that longhaired Freak.”
“Ya know what buddy? How about I pray for you right now?”
He pushed away and screamed NO and then punched me in the chest. “Don’t you dare, I will kill you for sure you miserable…” ( you can insert your own colorful metaphors) and turns and begins stomping away.
I pray out loud, “Our Father who is in Heaven Holy is your name…”
He turns and screams pointing his finger at me , “I’M WARNING YOU, STOP PRAYING RIGHT NOW!!”
“Thy Kingdom come thy will be done in Gresham as it is in Heaven….”
He turns and charges me and stops a foot or so away and in a threatening low voice says, “Are You ****in’ deaf?” He picks up a tree branch raises it to strike,
A peace has settled upon me and I hear my voice saying, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who want to beat us up.”
“I’ll do it ya know!,” the voice snarls “I WILL, I will,”
“In Jesus name Amen. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you and give you peace.”
“Oh shut the F up you F’in Vermin!” as he throws down the stick and trudges away. “I hate you, I HATE YOU.” Turning still screaming and using hand gestures. “I HATE UUUUU.” Reaching Glisan street turns east and stomps away.
A moment later a squad car pulls into the driveway and comes slowly back to where I was standing. The officer gets out and says, “You okay?” I nod. “I was a few miles away when I got the call. We know who it is. You want to press charges?”
“No,” I said shaking my head. “He wasn’t acting any worse than some of the homeless who had a snoot full. But thanks for coming.”
He got back in his car and said “What do you with guys like that?”
“I pray for them. What else is there to do?”
He smiled a nervous smile and drove away and I went back to my trees. Trees are a much quieter folk. I like them.
Steve, this is such a powerful story! Thank you for sharing it.