I sat with a son and his father tonight as a friend, encourager, and as a fellow sojourner. The son is in his mid thirties and has been an active Meth user for years. The father is on a small disability stipend and struggles financially and because of his son’s addiction suffers emotionally.
The son was released from county jail yesterday after serving 6 weeks for criminal trespass. His latest in a string of offenses. I’ve known him for over a year. He lived in his truck until last November when it was towed for sitting several months in a storefront parking lot.
I met the father once and he called me this last Monday wanting to know what to do about his son once he was released from jail. We talked for a while and I felt the pain of his heart. He mourned for the loss of the little boy he raised. He said he could not let him live with him but he agonized daily not knowing where his son was.
I had no answers. I had no advice. I am of little help and I said so. “I understand,” I said. “You’re not alone.” I felt frustrated and powerless. The only Hope is that his son allows Jesus to change him. But that’s his choice. I am confident that Christ’s Love extends to and surrounds this young man. I am confident in the expansive Grace that embraces all of us in our darkness.
The father and I talked for some time. It was difficult.
The son was released on Wednesday and they called and we met on Thursday. After a month and half in jail the son was sober and so we were able to have a calm and coherent conversation. Just the three of us.
He wants to go to a program but he wants to go to one that he can get a job and work. I don’t know of any like that I told him. The programs I have a relationship with require him to be the job. He has to work on himself for about a year. During that time they’ll feed him and give him a bed to sleep on. They’ll tell him when to get up in the morning and when to go bed at night. He’ll have Bible Studies, chores, and will have to hand out food on the street and other ministries.
He’ll practice responsibilities and disciplines necessary to reenter life. He’ll develop structured living.
“I need to make money,” he said.
“You shouldn’t care a rat’s a** about money right now,” I told him. “You are more important than any amount of money. Invest in yourself. Let Jesus do for you what you’ve never been able to do for yourself.”
I gave him several programs to call. I don’t contact the programs for guys anymore. I was counseled, wisely, to let them do it. And they will if they want it enough.
We talked a little more. He seemed to take it all in. His father looked encouraged.
We walked outside and I pointed at his father and said,”this man loves you and is your biggest cheerleader. Remember that. You can do this and it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do but see it through to the end. Trust in the Lord because He’s cheering you on too and will get you through this.”
The son looked at me and for the first time since I’ve known him, he reached his hand out to me and as we shook hands and with tears in his eyes, he pulled me close and said “thank you.”
The father and son got in their truck and drove away. Will he make it? I pray he will. I know he will if he allows Jesus to help him.