Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A What-If Scenario

Suppose you had a young friend, maybe someone for whom you babysat a good deal, someone you mentored, or someone you taught or coached, who -- as many kids in his/her same unfortunate environment do when they get a little older -- made tragic and destructive decisions (perhaps armed assault, manslaughter, drug trafficking, etc. -- pick one or name another) that landed them in prison with a lengthy sentence but one that most likely will be reduced. Obviously, you care about your friend a good deal, but at the same time, you're not in your friend's inner confidences and not necessarily one of the persons he or she is most apt to turn to for help.

When this person is released from incarceration, the most likely avenues for livelihood your friend (add in his/her child(ren)) will have, now with a permanent soiled police record, is going back to the same destructive practices that got him/her into his/her current predicament. Initially, your friend has made the promise-to-self not to go back to the same way of life, but as far as actually getting out, what are the real means there?

With all this in mind, that's not what you want for your friend. Certainly, there has to be something better than the dead-end job that Red (played by Morgan Freeman) received in The Shawshank Redemption that couldn't support one person, much less a person with children. Especially when a person's young. Prison's not a rehabilitator, but we/you/I, as part of The Church (if you include yourself in That), need to be the Love of God in an instance like this, right? I think this is a tough question that is rooted in many of our societal ills, but for us as individuals, we have to take on questions like these, that are real to us, on case-by-case bases.

What's the answer or what are some answers, then?

Because if I/you/we aren't going to try to do something, then sure as death, nobody else is, either.


Kevin Knox said...

Yeah. It's an impossible situation.

Step One and Step Two cannot be taken separately, as near as I can guess.

1) Love him. Believe him. Give him every chance.

2) Recognize you cannot wish him to make any decision. He will make and live out his own decisions.

So, I'd be straight with him. You'll enable any good decision he makes and stand by and love him no matter what decision he makes. You just won't lift a finger to help him destroy himself.

Then you'll have to guard your heart jealously. You'll have to remind yourself you are who you are, no matter who he might think you are. You're a failure, but you're loving out of love, not out of disdain. No matter what he says.

And, if you can handle the idea, you might profit from some support from an Al Anon kind of group for relatives of abusers.

May the Lord bless. But really. Don't rush into any figurative burning buildings. More rescuers get killed doing heroic things than you know. You don't know your limitations, so get advice before you do anything gallant.

Rich said...

Thanks for taking the tough one, Kevin. A lot of times with stuff like this (or even stuff like blogging in general), I don't have that precautionary side -- and that's something that needs to be considered. The one thing that lingers with me... I just have a tough time thinking it's impossible. I want to believe...

Really appreciate the thoughtful insight on this one. Just super comments. As ever.

Sooner or later, I'll follow up with you.