A little over two weeks ago, Willy was in a drunken fight and was thrown off our porch, knocked unconscious, with serious bleeding and a fractured neck. Since his release from the hospital he's been belligerently demanding money from us. Even threatening to damage the house if he is not paid. People here have been growing increasingly tense, and some finally called the police to have him removed and banned him from the property for one year.

I've tried to talk with him when he shows up and have offered him food and drink. He sometimes has seemed appreciative of this, and other times seemed to demand it as his due. When I've told him he won't be paid he's gotten angry and yelled. The day before yesterday he got pretty verbally abusive with Heather and me, attacking us personally, saying we were freeloaders here, any self-respecting man would provide his own place for his woman (instead of sharing the house here as we do), etc. I've tried to be patient with this, though I admit it is upsetting.

His anger worried me, and I decided to hang around the house last night in case he showed up again. The previous night he had barged in and grabbed food and spit on the volunteer when she tried to make him leave. I didn't want her to have to face that again alone. But I wasn't sure what I'd do if he did show up. I haven't liked the approach of those who have called the police and banned him from the property. They seem to be primarily interested in protecting themselves and the house and getting rid of "the problem." That doesn't seem like loving our enemies. And I'm sure it doesn't seem like love to Willy, either. I imagine it feels like being thrown off the porch again, only in a more "civilized" way. And isn't that pretty much true? I had hoped that trying to love him would help ease his frustration and anger, but the forceful response of others seemed to be making him more angry.

Then last night, after dark, Willy showed up on the porch again. And asked for me. I went out and we walked down the block a ways. He had been drinking. But he wasn't aggressive this time, he was repentant. He said he was sorry for causing so much trouble, he didn't want to hurt anyone and he would stay off the premises. He shook my hand and thanked me and Heather for "trying to see him as a better person." He was lonely and "just trying to get attention," he said; he thought he might like to volunteer at the house some time. We shook hands again and I asked if he needed anything. He said he'd be all right. Then we said goodbye and he left.

This morning I chanted these lines from Psalm 138:

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies...

On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.