Monday, June 02, 2014

The Spirit In The Shed

                        -ALL PHOTOS/EDITS BY RUTH RADER-

I walked into the State of New York, yesterday. And this time, I had no intention of turning around.

But when I reached a small town, the people there did everything that they could do to make me
feel unwelcome. When some people finally walked right past me and acted like I wasn't even there,
I began to pray for a ride.

I got one.

But the ride came from the Sheriff's department.  And the female cop just drove me to a McDonald's
restaurant in the next community and dropped me off. When she drove away, I was on my own. By that
time, the sun had dropped to its 6pm level in the sky.

I dragged myself into Mickey D's and ordered a tall lemonade on ice. After a full glorious sips of my
drink, I pulled out the card that the cop had put in my hand. The card listed the name and number to
a law enforcement chaplain. The lady officer had asked me to contact the chaplain.

So I did.

But he just told me that I couldn't roll out my sleeping bag in the city park. Then he directed to the
end of town where "it gets dark" at night. He said that I could blend into the darkness and remain
"out of sight" until morning.

Oh yes he did.

After that wasted phone call, an employee of McDonald's pointed to a large, white house located
across the parking lot.

"That's the pastor's home" she explained and encouraged me to go talk to him about my situation.

So I did.

It was dark in the driveway when I rang the doorbell. But the reception that I received was even
shadier. After a few minutes of conversation, it became obvious to me that this preacher was
of the Joel Osteen brand.

I didn't have a lot of money and my shoes were scuffed up from over 2,000 miles of travel. Then
the plastic preacher turned his cardboard "Christianity" up a notch and said, "You sound like you
feel entitled."

"YOU sound like you don't give a damn" I thought.

Finally, he let me use the bathroom in the sprawling church building before he turned me back
out into the night.

After a moment of hesitation, the preacher finally offered to let me stay overnight in a nearby
storage shed. He ran his John Deere tractor/mower out and then he brought me in to that small

The shed was filthy and filled with dirt, grass, "garage" items and spiders. I stood in front of
the shed's double doors and stared. The pastor brought out a lawn chair and a couple blankets from
his house, for me to use. Then he ran an extension cord from the house to the shed so that he
could plug in a lamp. Finally, he got me something to eat and drink.

I appreciated his efforts. I did not like his attitude or his snobbish insults.

He left me sitting in the chair, in the dirty shed, with no good night prayer and no bathroom
to use overnight. Then he walked into his large, well-appointed house...that is located
right across from the even larger church building...and went to bed.

I watched the wind blow the double doors of the shed...back-and-forth, back-and-forth. As
I ate the food, I huddled under one of the blankets and kept a wary eye out for anything that

The pastor had said that he "didn't feel comfortable" letting me sleep in the church building. But
he didn't mind putting me in a dirty, bug-infested tool shed for the night. He didn't seem to care
if I peed in the wastebasket, either.

So I never told him that I did.

 How do religious "leaders" get so disconnected from God? How do they become harbingers of
an unholy hate?  I don't know...but this post is dedicated to another man...who treated
me with sincere respect...when I approached "his" church building...on a Saturday night in May.

God bless you, Ken. There is no doubt in my mind where your faith, courage and love comes

I know that you, unlike last night's preacher, will never dismiss an older woman's an
older shed.                

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Harbingers of unholy hate" well said and I couldn't agree with you more. So sorry this happened to you Ruthie. Some of the nastiest bullies hide behind the word "Christian". They use "Christian" as a shield to hide and justify their hate and ugliness. They are hateful frauds and fakes. Glad you wrote about him. He deserves to be exposed. I hope you're doing better and get through NY soon. Kelly M.