The Light of the Divine Presence descended from above in a shower of true Love, washing me clean of my cares and worries during worship at the Salvation Army chapel in Billings. I know I can turn to the Salvation Army in a time of need. They have proven that once more again.
When I was homeless the first time, I went first to the Salvation Army. They gave me a voucher for a meal at a the King’s Table, an all-you-can eat buffet in Redwood City, California. They also gave me a room at a motel for one night in the same town.
I went from living in an Atherton estate to homeless as the locks were changed on the doors to where I grew up. The home that was on the cover of House Beautiful was never to be home to me again.
I was very much out of my mind at the time and I yelled at my mother. She waited until I left for work to have the locks changed and post a typed notice on the door saying I was not welcome there again and if I tried to enter, she would call the police.
She had her reasons and they were undoubtedly what she thought best. I certainly turned into a shrew. After I was sexually abused by a priest, I went mad and no one knew why except that I was now mentally ill (I told no one and did not even understand myself what happened). I was eventually forbidden to pray while living in their house and while they thought I was made crazier by religiousity, in truth, the prayers were one of the few things that held me together, if tenuously.
My parents did me a favor, as I see it now. I cannot live without praying. It is more important than eating to me. So, I lived with the lady I worked for as a stablehand, on the floor of her place. More importantly, I found that there are people who will help me no matter how sick in the head I am. They are the Salvation Army.
When I was in and out of the psych ward through most of November and December one year, into the New Year, as my psychiatrist sent me to a new shrink, my family did not want to have anything to do with me either. That Christmas, in the psych ward, Santa gave me the one present I received and I still have it. Santa brought me from the Salvation Army a little white bear, which I called my bipolar bear. I hugged it last night tightly, all through the night.
A few month’s back, I went to the Salvation Army sobbing because I was told I had to sell my doctor-prescribed service animal (that is a way-too clinical term for my best friend on earth). I wanted to volunteer for them. They also asked if I wanted to talk to someone. The counselor talked with me and told me about ExperienceWorks, for older people who have not worked for awhile. The kind lady played a recording of the Lord’s Prayer after I asked if we could pray a Lord’s Prayer together. I felt–no, I knew, that something would work out.
Lots has happened in this State as the bottom is falling out of the safety net for the mentally ill and others. I am in far better shape than most. This is an opportunity to learn to trust Him more, for me.
When I read that a homeless man died outside of Mission Dolores in San Francisco recently, I realized that though he took Holy Communion daily there, it could well have been the Salvation Army who fed him meals. I do not know that there is any truth to that thought, but it just seemed like I wanted to donate something to them. I do not have money to do so right now, but today, I expressed a desire to go in the food trucks to help feed the homeless in Billings. One thing I do know is that my abuse at Mission Dolores is not the end. Today is a new chapter and I refuse to write my own tragedy. The Lord is ressurecting my career as a journalist, somehow and I felt it as an absolute reality today. The Faithful and True is alive and well in Billings, Montana, I can report. He is with me here, too, as I am called to “publish abroad” of His vocational rehabilitation of me…Thank You O Faithful and True! I live to embrace and espouse the Spirit of Truth wherever it leads me…