February 20, 2015 Matthew

Homeless

An interesting experience happened to me recently. The following account is from an update I sent to my prayer list. Homelessness. Something noteworthy that I learned is that homelessness is not exactly a lack of God’s provision. The promises in Matt. 6 were in regards to food, drink, and covering. Well, as can be seen from the story, I was certainly not left hungry, thirsty, or freezing so there is no way that it can be surmised that I lacked God’s provision during this time.

Feb. 19, 2015

It has been six days since being homeless. The first night was on the floor of my father’s run down trailer where he lives. Too depressing a place for me, I left the next day for the lookout tower at Devil’s Peak–a long-time favorite hike of mine. The trip was 13 miles round trip up to 5000 feet. There was no snow–something I’ve never seen before this time of year on Mt. Hood.

Because it was President’s day weekend, there were five other individuals up there. I had some good conversation and some free wine. I stayed just one night, then returned to my father’s trailer. Again, the dark dilapidated trailer was too depressing. For years I’ve been wishing (even trying) to figure a way to get my dad out of that hole. Since he lost his health, then his home to foreclosure, and then went bankrupt, he has been suffering himself in a dank, truly falling apart trailer home full of rot and black mold. Now it’s the only place I have to go. So I decided to set out for Smith Rock the next day.

With in a few minutes of hitchhiking on the highway I was picked up by a nice guy named Tim. He was social, well-off, and generous. Because night was drawing near, and I would be setting up my camp in the dark, he offered me a room at his house in Bend for the night. When he offered free beer, pork, sticky rice, and a warm wood furnace to watch some movies next to, I conceded. It was quite the treat. I watched a rather good film called St. Vincent starring Bill Murray. I stayed in a nice home on two acres in a peaceful country setting. The next morning I didn’t want to rise, but breakfast and hot coffee was waiting for me. His service and hospitality was amazing, and he wasn’t even a Christian. In fact, he was a guy on probation for a minor assualt incident. He drank frequently, had a short temper, raced and passed cars on the highway in his nice 2011 VW Jetta (at 80+ mph) and was pretty white and black about those whom he liked and those whom he didn’t like.
 
He dropped me off at the highway and went his way, offering to pick me up and drive me all the way to Smith Rock if I was still there when he returned from town. I walked up the road a ways so he couldn’t see me in case I didn’t get a ride–he had done more than I could’ve asked for and I didn’t want him to have to drive me again.
 
At Smith Rock the next day I met a pair of nice climbers who invited me to climb with them. I did one climb, offering more to belay and show them around as my psych was too low to get into the climbing as I normally do. They offered to cook me dinner that night. 
 
The next day, today, I had to hitchhike to the nearby town of Redmond to get a few supplies. For some reason I couldn’t get a ride back. I waited and waited and waited. Finally it got dark and I knew my chances were shot. So I was forced to walk. It was about 5 or 6 miles just to Terrebonne, and then another 2 to the camp. My feet were already aching from the amount of walking I’ve been doing over the past week, and it was cold and dark. I knew it was dumb, but I held my thumb out anyway as an endless stream of headlights flew by me. About 2 miles from Terrebonne, an old Ford truck stopped in front of me. I walked up and a 24 year old kid picked me up. He was by far the most deprived character I’ve ever hitchhiked with. He didn’t have a care in the world for anything, including the law. He did drugs–weed, meth, heroin, etc. He was a drug dealer and that’s how he made his money. He had a certain reserve however about selling heroin as it seemed too devilish even for him. He had ‘married’ in vegas, and split with his ‘wife’. He related to me that she said he was ‘instable’ and that his response to that was simply, “f*ck that!” I said nothing. He said he was going nowhere. Just leaving town without a plan, but likely going to drive to Washington and do some drugs. He tried to buy beer at the gas station in Terrebonne when he filled up but couldn’t because he didn’t have his ID. No license on him. He then realized as he drove off that I had my ID. So he turned around against my preference and drove back to the store. The conversation over the matter was an interesting one. He knew that I was also homeless, and was rather stunned to pick up a hitch hiker who didn’t smoke weed. For whatever reason he really wanted a beer so he figured he’d play off his service of driving me to ‘trade’ it for a beer without giving me an option. He jokingly threatened to kill me if I wasn’t willing to help him buy beer. I simply replied, “Go right ahead!” There was nothing fearful about him. Just a deep level of ineptitude. He gave me a $20 and I bought my choice of a six pack of microbrews. He kept two, drinking one as he drove me the rest of the way to Smith Rock and let me have the rest. Free beer!
 
My netbook computer screen cracked and is only partially working now. Not sure how long it’s going to last but I’ll keep sending updates as long as God allows.
 
I do want to get back to town and be available for the meeting with the land owner which could happen in the next couple of weeks. I can afford up to $500 a month for a temporary space if anyone knows of anything. I’m hoping to leave Smith tomorrow as it is supposed to get down to 16 degrees F this weekend. Not excited about that. But neither am I excited about my dad’s floor either.
 
Not dead yet,
Matt

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