Sunday, December 10, 2006

Waiting for the Light, Again

I have not written about it, but my son has been incarcerated for several months now. We had gotten him out and about a month after that he got in trouble again. When we got him out the first time, the judge and I both told him if he got into any more trouble, he would have to sit in jail until his court date.

Thanksgiving was hard for me. And Christmas was looking even harder. We have an appointment with the DA on Monday to talk to him about some possibilities for getting my son some help. I have been fretting over the fact that he was going to be locked up for Christmas and was thinking we could maybe get him out and have him sent to rehab soon after Christmas.

But this past week, an incident occurred which reminded me of how fragile and elusive success is when you are dealing with addiction. We had a young man working for us from a local halfway house and he did not make it into work on Thursday. The people in charge called from the halfway house to tell us that he and three others had tested positive for drugs. We could not believe it. This young man had been counting up the months till he could get out. Now he goes straight back to jail and he loses his good behavior time so he will be serving a longer sentence.

I think we could bail my son out and have him home for Christmas, I think the DA is shocked that we have not done so. And sometimes, it feels cruel to leave him in there when we could get him out and bring him home. But lately, I have had the feeling that what my son needs is more time to wait and figure out that this is his problem and he has t o devote himself to helping himself. I can't do it for him.

I have been trying to encourage him and to remind him of his progress (he has been working on preparing for his GED test and has made great improvements). It is so hard sometimes to know what to do. It hurts to visit him once a week and not be able to touch him or hug him. It's very hard to think of him being in there over the Christmas holidays. But these thoughts have come to me, thoughts of Advent in jail, and waiting in darkness, thoughts that maybe that is how it needs to be, as hard as that is to accept. There are no easy answers.

And maybe I need to deliberately and consciously quiet myself and wait with expectation, as hard as that is to accept.

Does that make any sense whatsoever? As far as my son (and I) are concerned, does it make sense that I should consider this a time of waiting in darkness for the light to come and shine, in particular for my son? Isn't that a part of the task of Advent, waiting for God to show up in the darkness? Could I dare trust that this is a season pregnant with hope, that my son might suffer the darkness of a jail cell in this wonderful season and might emerge with a greater appreciation and a stronger desire for life in the Light?

I had this terrible dream one night that some sympathetic souls had bailed him out and they did not know his problem and when they found out, they were trying to call to let me know he was out and on his way to get drugs, but I almost did not get the phone call because the caller was not sure of my name and we thought it was a prank call. I awoke in a panic with my thoughts set on running to rescue him, and then I thought, I wonder if he is angry at us for not getting him out of that terrible place? Oh my God, the agony. May God's protective hand remain upon my son's shoulder.


  1. I was wondering just the other day why you hadn't updated us about your son for awhile. I was almost afraid to ask.

    However - from what you've written here - I think you are absolutely correct in how you are handling the situation. I really do. You know he is safest where he is for the time being. And yes, it will be horrendous to have him in there during Christmas but it would be more horrendous to have him out and have the unthinkable happen.

    Trust God to keep showing you the best course of action. Keep your heart open to HIM and not to what you may or may not want. Annie, don't be one of those parents that do what is easy over what they know is right. If you really feel this is right to leave him in then trust that.

    I have you constantly in my prayers. I see you going through the same things my brother and SIL went through with their oldest son and today he is straight and successful and knows his parents love him. Life CAN turn right side up again. It really can. Wait for the light...

  2. I don't think I can add anything to what HeyJules has said, Annie. You must trust both your inner voice and His. Hard, I know. You and the boy are in my prayers....

  3. What a difficult spot you are in; but you are handling it with such grace, wisdom and dignity. I think you are doing the right thing, for the long run.

    There is always light, in the darkest of places. There is a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it. We will pray that for your son.

    Beautiful picture, too...

  4. I think you are doing the right thing as well, Annie. It's so hard to see sometimes how measures like this are actually helpful, but time can be a friend to all of us. Take care...

  5. What they all said...

    Praying for you and your family.

  6. I don't want to be in your shoes. Nope, don't even want to think I know what is right or wrong or good or whatever. I do want to sit beside you (virtually) and wait with you. I am a good waiter. I will bring you virtual vittles.

    My grandparents always bailed out my dad from the time he was born until he died. I know you have seen the results of that in my poetry. There are worse things than waiting.

    Emanuel...God with us.

  7. Oh Annie.. I find we have so much more in common every time I read your writings. I am not by any stretch of the imagination a religious person, but I also know people have to use whatever they have to deal with things like this and I don't ever knock anyone for that. To each his own. Some day I will have to tell you about my own oldest son and what I have had to do, mainly in order to keep my own sanity and family intact; and how I came to let the lingering guilt fall away. I can say I am totally at peace with everything now, and mostly I am. I know I/we have done the right thing concerning him. But it's the holidays. And the fact that I have his 3 year old son with me 24 hours a day several days in a row each week just really chap my fanny sometimes. It's not that I mind having him here; it's that we *have* to because of his father and the choices he's made in his life. You can only do so much before you have to just stop. And save yourself.

  8. Jules, It is not easy being in this position and sometimes it is hard to believe life can turn right side up again, so it is nice to hear of evidence of it happening.

    Yes, Jim, it is hard. And I appreciate your prayers.

    Beth, Thank you for the reminder that there is a light that the darkness cannot overcome, even when I am temporarily shook up and wondering if I have not been consumed by darkness. I appreciate the prayers.

    Regina, Thanks girl. Time can be a friend, but sometimes it takes a while, doesn't it?

    Rach, Thank you. I appreciate the prayers.

    Cyndi, Yep, I do see the results of the bailing out in your poetry. I lvoe my son to death, but I know I don't help him if I constantly bail him out, though it is downright scary not to, and requires a lot of trust in God's strong hands. I agree, there are worse things than waiting.

    FluuterbyDo tell me about your son, when you are ready. I know what you mean about letting the guilt fall away, and that you are at peace with that, "mostly". No matter how well we think we come to terms with it, there always seem to be residual reminders of the heartbreak. I look at it in the same way I do grief. It never completely leaves you, you just get better and better at learning to live with it.

  9. well I see why now my comment did post the other day...because it didn't make me sign in, and tonight I got the sign in box. Go figure. I am so confused!
    I know the other night I must have said something really terrific and deeply philosophical. (?) But in short, I agree with Jules. And you are just so in tune and in step with your feelings, you don't give yourself enough credit for that.
    And Advent is the season for waiting, yes. And like Mary, who really wasn't sure what or how things would work out, just placed her confidence perfectly in The Lord. And you have done the same.


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