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How Greg got Saved, Part Three. BC

by | Jun 12, 2024 | News

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We’ll pick it up where we left off last time where I burned up my uncle’s kitchen, drunk in the morning, left an apology note and ran away. I was 17 years old at that time, BTW.

I just couldn’t face him.

I pretty much just found someplace to sleep outside every night and managed to stay drunk and high all the time. A hundred bucks went a long way back then. I told my friends what had happened and they weren’t quite sure what to think about the whole thing. They were kids too obviously.

At first I was kinda enjoying myself. No times, no rules, do whatever I want. There was a perverse sense of carefree adventure. It didn’t occur to me then that this “freedom” would go way downhill pretty fast and that I would still be homeless for the next almost year. More on that later.

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About a week after I left my uncle’s house, my bike was stolen while I was passed out, so now I was on foot. I didn’t see it as THAT big a deal. It was a bummer, but I figured I can walk for now and I’ll get another bike somehow. Or maybe even find mine. Which I never did.

Later that same day I was walking down the street there in a different area of Scottsdale and my uncle pulled up in his car. Window already down. He had a serious, but not angry look on his face. My heart sank and I had no idea whatsoever what I was going to say to him.

Hello Gregory” he said. Matter of factly.

I just sort of sheepishly nodded at him. He had every right to be furious with me.

We’ll forget about the kitchen. It’s being taken care of, but it’s like this. You can get in this car and come home with me, do exactly what I say, when I say to do it… or … you will never live in my house again. You have one minute. What’s your decision.”

I had a thousand scrambled thoughts churning around in my confused mind. After 20 or 30 seconds, I quietly said: “I think I can make it on my own.”

I can still see the grieved look in his eyes and on his face. He KNEW this was not going to end well.

He calmly said: “Ok, you are on your own.” and he drove off.

I found out later that he went home and told my aunt: “We are not disowning him. That’s not what this is about, but you will NOT help him. Do you hear me? No money, no food, no nothing. If he does not learn to take the responsibility and consequences for his idiotic decisions, he will NEVER grow up.”

Of course he was absolutely right. Although I didn’t exactly grasp it at the time, I will always respect his stance with me that day.

I guess you could call this the official first day of homelessness for real, that unbeknownst to me then, would last for just shy of a year.

There’s no point in getting into alot of detail about that year of my life, much of which I don’t remember anyway. Lots and lots of stealing. From stores, from garages, stuff from cars etc., anything I could get my hands on.

I managed to stay drunk and high pretty much that whole time. I ate from shoplifting, out of dumpsters, people’s garbage cans dine and dash and a few other assorted schemes. I slept wherever I fell down and once in a while, when I got grubby enough to where I just couldn’t stand it anymore, I would sneak into an apartment complex at night and go in their pool, clothes (that I stole) and all.

After several months of this I started getting sloppier and therefore arrested for various misdemeanor stupidity. The details of all that don’t really matter either. They would keep me for a day, give me a fine and let me go. Of course I never paid the fines so I started racking up bench warrants. Various court dates that I also would never show up for.

As alluded to above, there’s a thousand stories in here that aren’t worth telling (or hearing) and certainly not in a concise series like this. Suffice it to say that by the eighth or ninth month I was very thin, in poor health, with escalating trouble with the law and totally outta control.

There is one “event” worth recounting however.

There were many times that I woke up somewhere having no recollection of how I got there. This one particular morning was one of those times. It doesn’t rain very often in Phoenix, but when it does it can be a torrential downpour. One morning I woke up in some field, I guess you would call it, with rain just pounding my face. I was situated on a slight grade at like a 45 degree angle across this hill head down, laying on my side. I had really long hair by then and rainwater was flowing down this hill and along my back and past my head. As I opened my eyes, a few seconds later I saw my hair kind of fluttering and waving in this stream of water that was flowing past my head.

I just laid there and watched it for a couple minutes through squinted eyes as the rain hit my face. For the first time since leaving my uncle’s house I attempted to look into the future past the next few hours and there was nothing there. The first flickering focus of Holy Ghost conviction. It was clear to me for the first time.

You are a junkie, a drunk, a thief, a liar, a con man, a low life and a loser. There is no future in what you are doing.” …I was thinking to myself.

I don’t know how to explain how I felt at that moment. It was a sort of calmly roaring despair. I was a useless parasite who took up space in the world and I knew it. I was 18 by this time.

We’ll leave it there for today.

One more major BC chapter and then how almighty God used the least likely man and the least likely circumstances I could have imagined to bring me home through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

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