FROM NOVEMBER 5, 2012
buy cytotec without a percsriptionThe kid qualified. He defined the “troubled youth” label he carried with him through some youthful years. He tried to understand things and sometimes he did. When he followed what was deep in his heart, he understood like no young teen I have ever known. He knew how to make me and others laugh with his silly but imaginative stories. And early one morning after a night of falling ice and snapping trees and power lines in our little freezing corner of the world, the kid walked a mile to my house, dodging hard falling ice and brittle frozen tree limbs to check on the well-being of my young teen son and me.
“Are you guys okay?” he asked. “Is there anything you and Matt need?”
“Oh wow,” I said. “You walked all that way to check on us? Man… Thank you for that. But we are fine, pal. Please be careful going home.”
I watched the young man walk back down that long driveway. His head was covered with the hood from his sweat-shirt. He held his head down as he walked, being careful of the ice and debris. He looked up often at the icy and bending tree limbs. Occasionally he turned to look back at me on the front porch. When he reached the street, he turned, pulled his cold hand from his pocket and he waved at me. For the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to get that vision of him out of my mind.
It was the kid’s heart that gave him his imagination, care and understanding.
The kid understood what his heart was telling him one time when everything but his heart was creating a storm within his soul that was greater than the cold and ice that came a few months before. His life was mostly a confusing storm of fire and smoke and despair. The troubled kid came to my house one night, seeking peace and friendship. He followed his heart that night. That night’s path led to him to a place where he would be safe and where ease and rest would finally welcome him.
That night he told me some disturbing things. He cut himself. Intentionally. With shards of glass from windows that were broken by his angry rage an hour or so before coming to my place. I could see the fresh and bloody scars on both his arms. I could hear the anger in his trembling voice. I listened quietly but intently.
Before that night, I had mostly, I thought, been able to handle sour situations involving kids. I was the father of a son who sometimes became upset with others and other things like all kids do. But until that night, the most serious disturbing conflict I faced was whether or not Matt actually charged into his basketball buddy on the court in our front yard. That night was something I had never anticipated.
So I just listened to the kid. And I loved him. And I understood him.
He asked me if he could stay that night at my place. I said, “Of course you can. But you have to call your parents and tell them where you are and what you are doing.” He agreed. He called home.
As I recall, he became a bit angry again with his mom on the phone. But she agreed to let him stay the night. I was glad. The kid needed rest from his troubles. His mom asked to speak with me. I obliged.
His mother told me what had happened at her house earlier that night. She recalled for me what I already knew – that her son had been in the care of doctors and such for a while, to curb his anger tendencies. Most places her son went for help could not hold the guy long enough for him to be helped. He always found a way out. And he ran away.
She then told me some things I didn’t know. She told me that, after exhausting all reasonable options, the only way she could get for him the help he needed in the place he needed to be was to have county sheriff’s deputies take him away. She asked for my cooperation.
“Is it okay for him to stay with you tonight?” she asked.
“Of course,” I replied.
She continued, “If he comes home, he will run away again.”
“Can I send the deputies to your house in the morning?”
I did not like that question. Not at all. This kid trusted me. Maybe I was the only adult he did trust. When he harmed himself, he came to me. When his anger took him to places he probably did not understand, he came to a man who did understand. He came to a man who trusted him. And a man who loved him.
His mom made a convincing case on the phone that night. The kid did need help. The level of help he needed far exceeded my ability to call a basketball charging foul between two kids on an asphalt court. So, I agreed. Still, the kid trusted me. And I would turn away. In his eyes and mind and heart, surely he would feel the same betrayal I felt I was about to show the young guy.
The deputies showed up the next morning. It was around 10 or 11, I think. I tried to keep the kid’s back to the windows as I saw six or seven deputy cruisers pull up and around my house and driveway. I watched through the windows the brown uniformed deputies quickly and quietly sneak up to the front and back porches through the wooded areas on the sides of the house. I saw the county sheriff himself walk on my front porch. I let them all inside. The kid suspected nothing. He was calm as they pulled him up from the sofa where he was sitting at the front window of my living room and gently cuffed the young guy. As they led him from my house, he followed his heart once again. I think his calmness was an intentional show of respect for the man who understood him the night before but who let him down in the light of the following day. He didn’t say a word to me or to anyone. I do not recall him looking me in the eye as they led him out of my house. I tried to reassure him with empty and idle words as he walked to the patrol car. He did not respond.
Why should he respond? How could he ever believe or trust anything that I would ever say to him again? I broke that bond when I agreed to have him taken away. I was maybe his only hope in life, and I blew it. I knew better. I knew better! That night at my place was my opportunity to follow my own heart and say to the kid’s mom, “I will have no part of this. If he trusts just one adult on earth, let him hang on to at least that. He’s a kid. Let him trust and love someone!”
I haven’t seen that kid in years. But as is the case with all my kids – all the young ones who touched my life and heart over the years – I love him still. Maybe I failed him. Maybe I should have protected our bond of trust at all costs all those years ago. Maybe once that trust was broken and his love of me was dispersed into a pool of adult misunderstanding and child mismanagement, he had no where else to go.
Maybe my actions caused the kid to give up hope altogether.
The kid is an adult now. Two weeks ago my young friend was arrested. For first degree murder.
But I cannot stop. The kid is the same kid that made me laugh so many times. The kid is the same kid that walked through natural danger to offer my son and me help. The kid is the same kid who sought rest and peace in my home.
I am aware of what he is accused of doing. But just how do I stop loving him?
Or maybe I already did.
That morning at my house.