There are more of these “Homeless” then what you see.
The following was written by one of our homeless persons who cleaned himself up, enrolled in College and taking English. His first assignment was to write an essay, “Something in my past that changed my life.”
Debora A. Larry Kearney
June 16, 2016
“God Commits Suicide”
We are created to love and be loved. It is the most precious thing we can offer of ourselves and the greatest gift we can receive from someone else. It’s the most important thing we want our kids, family and significant other to be certain of. We loved them the best we knew how. This love is mysterious though as one might not recognize it as love when it is offered. As a kid, we loved our toys and “blankie” as we destroyed them and dragged them through the mud. We just move on as we grow older to bigger toys and more complex relationships. We constantly accumulate things, money and people as worthy objects of our affections. We experiment with this love thing and notice there is a give and take. You must love to be loved. I have experienced the worst expressions of love by the people closest to me and given the same in return but in my darkest moment I have found the greatest love of them all. I found a love that would change who I am and how I loved from that point on.
I have experienced a love for money that caused me to see people as either an obstacle that’s in my way or an object to be used to obtain more money. I sold large amounts of whatever drugs were in the highest demand to make the most money possible. I risked my life and the lives of others as I chased the illusion of, a little more will be enough. I was grasping for the wind as I made lots of money but was never satisfied. It is often misquoted that money is the root of all evil when actually it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.
I thought family would always be a soft place of unconditional love to fall back on. I always had this love for my family that brought me security knowing that this love wasn’t based on my performance. I assumed I could be at my worst and they would love me like I was at my best. My dad left when I was young for the freedom to pursue his greatest love, alcohol. My mother was always dropping me off with family, friends or any other place that would rid her of the inconvenience I was. Whenever I think of my mom, I think of the bumper on the car she was driving off in as she sped off with the freedom to pursue her greatest loves, truckers, guys named Mike, bowling alleys, pills and beer. If you ask my mom or dad, they would tell you they loved me. My brother was my hero in a lot of ways. He was older than me and I always looked up to him. Everything he did, I shortly followed. He would eventually trade me in for his addiction in the most heartless act of betrayal I had ever known.
In 2014, I ended up homeless and addicted to drugs. There wasn’t anyone out looking for me or losing sleep over my absence. Nobody was waiting by a phone in case I called. In fact, my mother and brother dropped me off in the woods of Placerville hoping I would not come out alive to tell the story of a family that loved drugs more than each other. I was scared, angry, hurt and alone. Due to the drugs and the damage they had done to my brain, I was irrational and incapable of handling such extreme emotions. I wanted to die. I learned that love mishandled can unravel someone from the inside out, leaving them broken and undone, unwilling to live.
I spent a short time in a mental health ward eating and resting. They dropped me off at a Church where homeless people slept. The next night another church would bus us in, feed us, play a movie and even let us shower. I noticed these churches had people who would volunteer their time and lives serving the most undeserving and unlovely people. How odd, I thought, that someone would waste their life and sacrifice their dignity on me. They would hug me and listen to me when I was dirty and not worth hearing. I started noticing they even cared about me and it wasn’t for show or a paycheck. It was genuine and like nothing I had ever seen or experienced before. At my worst and darkest time, I’ve seen love in its brightest setting. I experienced the uplifting and healing effects this love can have on a broken heart and a soul with no hope or will to live. I had to stay close to those who owned this love as it continually strengthened and brought life to me. I asked them, how they could care about me? Why love me? They explained that their lives are a response to this love of God that was most brightly displayed when people were at their worst. This love of God is Jesus and it is said that He was prepared to die for the most rotten people before the world was ever created.
I learned that love is worth spending your life looking for but only this love makes life worth living. This love expresses itself through sacrifice and service. It conquers evil with good and is strongest when gentle. It brings life to the dead, heals broken hearts, gives hope to those without and is free to share with all. It cost nothing and is worth more then everything. It is awkward in its appearance and doesn’t make much sense when expressed most effectively. The rest of my life will be the response to this love that was waiting for me in the woods of Placerville.
A New Book
For several years, people involved in the homeless community in Placerville have been after Art Edwards to write a non-fiction book describing the events and people that led up to the development and operation of Hangtown Haven homeless shelter on Upper Broadway. The book is now complete and is in printing to be available to the public. It is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon Books through the Internet.
The title of the book is, “The Journey To Hangtown Haven” and begins with the original shelter at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Camino in 2006 with United Outreach. It details the events with the county that led to the use of Perks Court as a homeless shelter that Art designed and continues through his collaboration with the city of Placerville that resulted in the fifteen month homeless shelter on Upper Broadway.
Scattered throughout the book are biographies and almost one hundred pictures of volunteers who made the Haven possible and of the homeless residents who made the Haven a roaring success. Events are listed as they happened with no punches pulled as Art knows them although he does not draw conclusions but leaves that to the reader. Most events are part of the written record of both the county Board of Supervisors and the Placerville City Council.
The book is also intended as a guide to help other cities and counties in the state and country build their own homeless shelters. It outlines the legal, financial, design and political hurdles that must be overcome to build a successful shelter within state and local codes and restrictions. It covers the mistakes, and, most importantly, the contributions made by dedicated community volunteers all done without taxpayer money as described in The Journey To Hangtown Haven. ………………………………………….