Choices (and consequences)

Well, here’s my first blog entry. I’ve had this site – this username – reserved for several months, but after reading a couple of friends’ blogs, I decided that my life just wasn’t interesting or humorous enough to warrant one.

For those who don’t know me (and I expect that anyone reading this entry already does), I’ve been married since 1987 to the same wonderful woman, Yvonne, and we have 2 great kids. I am a christian, replete with flaws and weaknesses, but that is the foundation on which I try to rely for defining my actions in those other roles that I play in life.

Our kids are at opposite ends of the spectrum: the oldest, Lisa, is in college studying Graphic Art/Illustration. She did well enough in high school: had a close circle of friends, but has really begun to blossom in college. The friends she did make, and the decisions she made, we could and do enthusiastically embrace, so far. Raising our youngest has been frustrating, to say the least. High IQ, ADHD, underachiever…true, true and true.  So let’s just say that we’ve had our concerns, but he does have a plan (and a pretty “realizable” and organized one, at that), which begins with joining the US Navy.

Michael’s choice of friends has been questionable. Worrisome, in fact. This summer he had to subdue one lifetime friend,  who was going to run from the scene of a fight, until the police arrived. He watched them cuff him and stuff him in the back of the police car. He visited him in jail several times over the next couple of months, and tried to be a good example for him when the jail time ended. Then, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, that friend and another friend got into a fight and both ended up spending a couple of weeks in jail. The “other friend” was released Thanksgiving day during the late evening. He had nowhere to live, except his broken down truck, so we offered a place to stay, assistance finding anger management counseling (still looking, by the way, in case anyone in the Houston area knows a pastoral counselor who’d be willing to do some reduced-fee or pro bono work) and a job.

According to Michael, the young man has lived a tough life: introduced by his mother to alcohol and tobacco before the age of 10, no father figure in his life, former drug user, etc. Who told him this, and its accuracy, are unknown, but assuming it’s just 25% correct, he needs someone to give him a chance.

He’s been living in our home since. We’ve loaned/given him a little money, bought him some clothes for job interviews, offered suggestions for improving his job search (from “stop getting arrested”to “check out the Texas Workforce Commission, because they will train you”) and tried to generally provide him with a better environment than he’d been in.

Last night, he asked, in a somewhat deceitful way, to borrow some more money. Not a lot to us, but to him – flat broke and without anything else to pawn – a fortune of insurmountable size. He needed it to pay off a loan from a former “associate”, who’d been issuing threats of severe bodily harm to him for missing the repayment deadline. Today we gave it to him, because he’s a son. Not ours, but a son nonetheless to a mother.

In the end, this time, at least, the crisis is averted. No bloodied faces; no broken bones; no missing teeth.  But for Michael, a front row seat for the long-running drama whose  ever-changing cast keeps “Ruined Lives” going strong. He watches, and learns (we hope and pray) the right lessons.