Her name was Eva. She lived in a high rise apartment complex in Louisville, KyY. She was a visitor to our church on several occasions but we had not seen her in a while and on her last visit she said she would not mind a visit from the minister. So yet again it was my destiny to go to an apartment complex that had for me quite a bad history. I had started a Bible class for some of the mentally ill in the tower as a way to “minister” but also to have a reason to check up on schizophrenic members without checking up on them. I was in the middle of the first class. We were talking about listening to the small voice of God inside. One of the members look at me horrified and said, “My doctor told me not to listen to the voices inside me but I always thought I should and you are saying I should.” Now the horror was on my face. “No listen to the doctor. Your doctor is right.” He replied, “Why?” And that was only the beginning of my learnings from my schizophrenic friends about how religious language is dangerous. Another time I went to check on one of our members and found them dead in their apartment. My car was broken into once while I was there. Once I broke up a physical fight between two seventy plus year old women, receiving a scratch to my face for my efforts. There is nothing like trying to explain how it is you came to be scratched by a seventy year old woman to your congregation.
So it was with fear and temerity that I agreed to visit Eva. She lived on the tenth floor. The apartment complex was like a motel with the hall on the outside. As I approached her apartment I heard a familiar tune; it seemed my mind was trying to jog out the name of the song and the artist. As I approached her apartment I realized it looked as though her front door was open and the music was blaring out from her apartment onto the walkway. I had never met Eva before so I slowly went to her open door and looked in. What I saw was a woman gracefully waltzing around the room by herself. She had a scarf wrapped around her shoulders and a long flowing dress as if she was at a ball. I asked if she was Eva. She said yes; I thought that figures. I am Reverend Freeman from the church. Oh she exclaimed as she waltzed toward me what an honor to have you come. Making a grand gesture toward the loveseat inside she said why don’t you sit here beside me. Now I was slowly realizing that she was not completely aware and she seemed to be exhibiting hyper-sexuality so I replied can we talk on the walkway I like the view I explained. Parking lots have always fascinated me. She came outside and said what a beautiful day it is. Do you know what day it is I asked conducting my mental assessment. It does not matter as long as it is a beautiful day, she explained. She leaned over the railing sometimes on beautiful days as this I feel like a bird and I could fly for miles she exclaimed. I quickly said to my wannabe bird I think I would feel more comfortable inside. So she took me by the hand and led me to the love sofa by waltzing back in the room. The name and performer of the song came to me Elvis Presley and The Great Pretender.
Well Reverend Freeman she said with emphasis on reverend what can I do for you. As her hand rested on my knee. Well we have been missing you at church and wanted to let you know we…. Oh you like me minister and you miss me she said coyly. No the congregation misses you I said with a fluster.
She said you know Reeeverend Freeman I love the Bible. I have always fancied myself a minister too. I evaluated the situation: a hyper-sexual not exactly there person with her door open to all and music blaring out into the world with no sense of time and, I am not sure of this, but not sure of place either. She definitely needs Adult Protective Services to come. She said wontolyn “May I read you one of my favorite passages?” Scooting closer to me she began reading from her Bible in Shakespearean fashion. Arms thrusting, stage voice with pronunciation perfect she read the passage. I now knew I needed to get back to my office and place a few calls so she could be evaluated and medicated (this was before cell phones). I told her I needed to go; we had been screaming over the music and now I was yelling above the music and her Shakespearean stage voice (she would not stop reading). She said that was fine. I arose; she hugged me with her arms roaming on my back and head buried in my chest. I broke away from her and started firmly to the door. She said she would walk me to the door which was to her the bottom floor door. Then she grabbed her Bible and said let me read one more passage to you as we go downstairs. I would agree to anything that helped me make it to my car.
We walked down the walkway the passage she read Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd….. We passed a couple on our way to the elevator she continued I shall not want…. . we arrived at the elevator and I assured her I could make it the rest of the way by myself. She courteously disagreed. The elevator doors opened and three people were inside. She followed in full stage presence He maketh me lay down in green pastures. The three disguised their snickering. I felt as if I was dead man walking. Two centuries later the elevator reached the ground floor. She continued, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. She followed me through the lobby. Everyone turned and looked as we traveled. At the door I said goodbye again. She had finished once but started from the beginning again. She said it was a beautiful day and would walk with me outside to the car. She continued to read, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. I reached the car and she stood in front of the door reading. I said excuse me and brushed by her to the door. She made to get in the car with me. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I locked all the doors and did not squeal off but made great haste. She waved at me and I noticed she took a bow as I left the parking lot.
Maybe she really did not want a visit from a minister and it was all a ruse but I would have just taken a no. When I reported her to the social services and they visited her everything was fine she was of a good mind. The social worker asked me I hope jokingly maybe you were having a fantasy. Whatever. But for my part I made sure I never needed to visit that apartment complex again. The voices in my head told me not to.