The hardest blogs for me to write are the ones that hit close to the heart. I met Clesson E. Hill today at under the park pavilion in West Jordan. Clesson is a forty-seven year old homeless man and in desperate need of help. Please help me to help Clesson.
I traveled to Salt Lake this weekend to work at the Utah Olympic Oval where the Long Track Speed skating World cup is being held. After getting off work in the mid-afternoon, I decided to go to High Point Coffee to finish some homework which I’m currently procrastinating, however I think this takes priority. Before going to the coffee shop, I made a last minute decision to stop at the park for some walking meditation.
I was mindfully walking down the path when I saw Clesson slumped under the pavilion. He was sleeping next to an electricity outlet where he was charging an oxygen machine. He had a half eaten sandwich on his lap, a couple of pill bottles on his side and a some small suitcases where he probably had his personal belongings.
I couldn’t walk past without inquiring. So I sat in front of him on a bench and said, “Hello sir” a couple of times before he lifted his head and noticed me. First I told him that I wanted to let him know that he left his medications on the ground where I was afraid of somebody stealing them. He told me that those medications were there because he needed to take them. He hadn’t taken them because he didn’t have any water to wash them down. I grabbed him a water bottle from my car and before even becoming acquainted, he began to cry and tell me that missed his heart surgery on Wednesday because he wasn’t emotionally calm enough. He continued to tell me about his mental and physical health complication with tears welling up in his eyes. I sat and talked with his for almost a half hour as he told me how he ended up in the position he was in.
Clesson told me this… “In December, I was diagnosed with mild neurocognitive disorder, which is just short of dementia. But the reason why is because of three teens who attacked me in 2016. They nearly killed me. That first one hit me on the head with his skateboard, shattered my right eye socket, broke my skull, cause my brain hemorrhage. And than, two other joined the first one and all three beat on me for eight minutes while I was unconscious. And they left me lying in a pool of blood.”
I was asking Clesson if he had everything he needed to survive for the time being. It was clearly hard for him to speak with tears welling up in his eyes and his voice beginning to crack.
Then Clesson tells me, “One thing is that makes it hard for me to even have any confidence anymore. Even though I’m homeless… Just because I’m homeless, people look at me like I’m a criminal. Like, they look at me like I’m gonna hurt them.” He barely got these words out.
“Where do you sleep at Clesson?” I asked. “All over. Because of my severe PTSD, if there is anyone even near me, than I move and go sleep somewhere else. It’s the reason why I can’t sleep at any of the homeless shelter.” he said.
I said, “Sir I know we’re complete strangers but um, the reason why I stopped to talk to you is because I feel a sense of compassion when I see people in poor condition. I’m so sorry.”
Clesson said, “That’s the way my mom and grandma raised me. They raised me to help other people and not to ask for help. And so I don’t. But, there was some times…that when I need help, and I want to ask for help, it’s too hard. And that’s probably the reason why I go, err like, I went four or five days without anything to eat cause I didn’t want to ask anybody for anything.”
I asked Clesson, “You uh, belong to any faith?”
“LDS”, he said.
“That’s a good community. I hope they take care of you.”
“They don’t. I don’t know why but… like uh Utah members don’t practice what the church preaches. They practice it in church, but they don’t practice it out of church.”
Before leaving, I told Clesson to keep his head up. I hope this brings some compassion to your heart. And I hope your compassion will spark a wanting for change in our country. There are 750,000 homeless American sleeping on the streets tonight. Consider that the top 20% of Americans own 85% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 80% of the population own 15%. Keep these things in mind. There is something fundamentally broken in the Unites States when you examine our priorities. Trumps proposed border wall will cost 5.7 billion dollars. It would cost 15 billion dollars to completely end homeless in the United States. Homeless Americans are our people! They are us as well!
I haven’t done this before but I’m going to share my notes at the bottom of this blog Please help me to help Clesson by sharing my blog.