This young man is like a son to me. He and my son (the one in jail) grew up together, drank together, got into trouble together and could have gone to jail together–but my son would not rat out his friend. I am glad that there is honor among thieves-literally-today that is. Back when, I wasn’t so full of compassion and love for others. Back when I wanted anyone and everyone involved to pay the same as my son was paying. But that wasn’t in the plan God had for the lives of all involved and through all the days and nights of living with a child with addictions, I have grown and learned so much.
When this young man was in his teens, probably 16, 17–rather than go to school he went to work with his dad at a lumber yard. He somehow got his arm caught in the machinery and ended up losing the arm. For a number of years following the accident– Dana would stop by my house and sit at the table where I would be painting and talk to me about his life, his problems, his thoughts, his missing limb, his girlfriends. Sometimes even late, late at night he would drive by, see a light on and stop.
Eventually he met he a good woman, married and settled down to help raise the daughter she brought into the marriage and the son they had together. He went through years of heavy drinking and the problems that can cause in a family. He never spent time in jail, but I am sure his wife went through hell during those years–until a few years ago when something happened within the marriage that caused Dana to realize it was time to clean up his act–and so he did.
He began coming to church. He stopped drinking. He began to be the husband his wife always knew he could be and this past Sunday night he was ordained as a deacon in our church–his ordination occurred on the same night as I learned my own flesh and blood child had been incarcerated after 5+ years of freedom.
It occurred to me at some point during the ordination service that had he not chosen to follow his addiction down it’s ugly path, my own son could be standing in the same position as Dana. In fact the Sunday the deacons were announced I told Dana and his wife that I couldn’t be more proud than if it were my own son. In fact, Dana said that I was as much his mom as his own which truly warmed my heart–but this wasn’t my flesh and blood standing up there and while I found the “answer to a prayer” (see previous post) and the fact that while my own son was sitting in jail, my *might as well be* son was being ordained, not only funny in a twisted sort of way and ironic–the one thing I did notice was no feelings of resentment, anger or jealousy toward this young man or his family for the joy there were experiencing. That my friend, was the true blessing of the night for me!!!!
Only a person who really knows me would know how much this says to me and about me. I grew up filled with insecurities and doubt, seeing the world as a huge scary place and the people in it as out to best me. Years of al-anon and self therapy, prayer and work have brought me to this place I find myself today. Yes, I can still feel smug and vindicated when certain things happen to certain people. I’m not proud of that, but I’m still human; I’m also still a work in progress. I am very thankful to God that He has brought me this far, allowed me to grow, allowed me to see where I fail and where I succeed. My God is an awesome God!!!!!