Saturday, November 7, 2009

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

It's Saturday morning. I have finished cleaning up the kitchen, started a load of laundry and I'm already planning out how to balance my chore list with some personal time doing things I enjoy most-- reading and maybe watching a TV show I've recorded.  I am thinking of my son.  

The last time I saw him was on Thursday night. I took him to our favorite Italian restaurant, sat at a bar (which I haven't done in years) and bought him his first "Cadillac Margarita".  I remember studying his face-- a face that I find to be so beautiful. I'm looking at his thick dark lashes, and studying his big blue-green eyes. I find myself looking at his beautiful nose. It's long and perfectly shaped. I never liked my nose. I still don't...just random thoughts from a mom who adores her son.  I am looking at my beautiful baby boy, who was born 21 years ago. I'm still amazed how the DNA from his father and from me, has been woven to create this 6'3 young man-- my son.  We enjoy our time at the bar. We laugh. We chat with the bartender. I order small food items from the dinner menu. I explain to my son  how important it is to eat with alcohol-- it seems so weird, I realize, to be having this conversation with my son.  I decline an offer for a second beer. I need to drive home, and I want to be responsible. I'm relieved to see that my son stops at one cocktail.  B isn't much into drinking alcohol. "Thank God", I think. That's all my son needs-- to be addicted to opiates and alcohol.

My thoughts return back to the present. I look at the clock and it's time to pick B up to drive him to his job. It's my opportunity to see my son. As I park in front of B's apartment building, I stop and say a prayer:

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will help me to not to lose patience with my son. Please help me to not put my own expectations of how I think my son should live his life onto him. I pray, that no matter what happens, that you will help me to lift my son up and to not tear him down. Help me, Father, to be the Godly mother than I have asked you to help me be. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

I glance at my watch, and my son is cutting it close to be at work on time. Then, I remember my prayer. Let go, let God.  I spot my son, walking towards me, looking like someone just died. 

B gets into the car and sighs, deeply.

"Good morning", I cheerily say. What I really want to say is "what's wrong?"

My son reclines the car seat and says "I'm deep in debt, mom".  "I don't see how I can pay it." "I owe $700.00".  My stomach ties up into knots.

It's early November of 1999.  I am at the horse stables, with my son, who has started hanging out at the barn with me. I am going to teach my son how to clip a horse's bridle path (mane).  I have my horse on a halter, and the clippers are plugged in. My horse is acting a little jittery, so I'm talking to her in a soothing voice.  I tell my son to hold the horse by the halter, I've got the rope in one hand. I've turned on the clippers, that are buzzing lightly.  Suddenly, I see my ex-husband "S" (the alcoholic  that I blogged about last week who was B's stepdad) who gets his foot caught in the plastic tarp that covers the hay bales.  S begins to shake his foot that is entangled in the tarp and the sound of it spooks my horse... she bolts forward and knocks me off my feet. In a split second, I am flying through the air and I instinctively put my hand out to brace the fall. I am on the ground and my hand hurts like hell. I look at the hand and it's at an odd angle. It's broken and I go into shock.  People are scurrying around me, and someone grabs my horse for me. The clippers are on the ground, buzzing away....

I am rushed to the hospital and the endorphins that block pain have quit working. I'm now in excruciating pain.  My son is in the backseat while S is driving me to the emergency room.  A emergency room doctor greases my swollen fingers  and pulls off my wedding ring, just in time. I am giving a morphine drip and I begin to relax and the pain ebbs away.  I am told that I have a compound fracture and that I will need surgery-- it's a severe break of my left hand and I will not be able to work for six weeks.  

I remember my son saying "there goes Thanksgiving Dinner!".  Funny, that my son values that my cooking so much, I think to myself-- I remember this vividly.

I remember telling my son that "God will provide".  I didn't know how, at the time. B's stepdad was unemployed. I was self-employed. I was fortunate that I had Blue Cross, and while the premiums were killing me I was thankful that I was responsible enough to have medical insurance.

I prayed and prayed, and my faith in God was at a full test at this chapter in my life.  Miracles happened. My (now ex) sister-in-law kept my business going. Bless her heart, she took on my clients and hers (I was an esthetician and my hands were my living... miracle after miracle happened-- maybe I'll blog about it someday. From that point in my life, I fully commited my life to being a Christian. Before then, I was only dabbling in seeking to know God.

I got through it. God had pulled the cosmic carpet right out from under me, at this time in my life. I had just made a lot of money on a succesful business promotion.   I had all kinds of business ideas on what I was going to do with my financial windfall.  And then, life happened.  It was not to be... but, God had finally gotten my attention.
B went on to say that he had borrowed money from a Cash Advance place...again. He said he had it all figured out and then his hours got cut in half. His voice trails off and he mutters that he just wants to die.  Yes, life happens, I think to myself.

So, I prayed out loud for my son. He interrupted me and said he didn't want to hear it. I trailed off with "amen".

We were quiet for a few minutes, and I was getting close to his job. Finally, I said with a soft voice:

"B, I'm sorry that you are feeling such despair.  I do understand that feeling, because at the time that I broke my wrist I had no idea how I was going to pay house rent, business rent and how I was going to manage. I cried out to God, and I prayed and prayed...and I asked God to show me the way out.  I can only hope that you will take a look at what got you into debt. Drugs do that, as you know. Drugs rob you of everything-- integrity, money and hope.  There is a way out and I am going to pray that you will ask God to show you the way."

I handed my son a bottle of water and some snacks that I packed for him. I gave him $5.00 to buy some lunch.

"At times like this, be thankful that you paid your rent".  "Look for blessings in all of this." I said.

"But, I won't be able to pay rent next month!", he said.  He is feeling such despair and he's hating his life right now.

"Yes, you can.  You have to want it enough, and to prioritize what you need to do. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way".

B gave me a weak smile and walked off to work. As I drove home, I prayed out loud to God and I laid all of this before the throne of heaven.

We forget that when what seems our darkest hours, that sometimes God has allowed this to happen to us for a reason. He doesn't rescue us, but allows us to suffer the consequences from the choices that we make that are in direct disobedience to Him.

Does this sound familiar?  God is our Heavenly Father. Just as we parents of addicts must allow our children to suffer the consequences of their choice to use drugs-- to beg, borrow and steal-- God is waiting for us to realize that the only way out is to look UP to Him.

My son is robbing Peter to pay Paul. He got himself into a financial mess. I won't even focus on whether or not his debt is from buying drugs or on the expenses his listed out to me. It doesn't matter.  Only God knows the truth.  My son is learning what happens when we borrow money. It's a dangerous game and it has backfired on him, again. No, I won't bail him out. He needs to feel the pain, and I hope that he will finally learn from it.

I do believe in God's miracles. My story of my broken wrist is woven with so many turns and twists that would take thousands of words to tell.  I was so immersed in finding hope, strength and encouragement by reading the bible every single day.  I read the story of King David, while he was being chased by Saul-- and how David cried out to God when he was trapped in a cave.  I read Proverbs and Psalms and underlined them in bright yellow.  I would rock back and forth and cry tears, wondering if God would ever bail me out.

He did. I had to wait for ten years before I was free of debt.  Many times, I felt despair and then I cried out to God.  I never stopped seeking to know God through his word. I fell in-love with reading the bible. I joined a bible study group. I was finally walking with the Lord, and clinging to Him for dear life.  I found strength, hope and courage even when I felt afraid.

Yes, I know how suffocating the burden of debt is.  I know the feeling of hopelessness, as though I could never be free of worrying about next month's rent payment.  I also became keenly aware of how the Dark One will never stop at trying to rob us of hope. He breathes lies into our thoughts-- that we are useless, we are failures. The Dark One shows us the easy way out-- but it's never legal.

My son is under spiritual attack.  I am praying for him-- that God will send him a messenger, today. I am praying that my son will see a way out-- God's way...that my son wll learn the value of integrity and patience.

My son is in that cave.  His enemies are chasing him.

Cry out to God, my son.  He is waiting for you... he loves you. Return to Him, for he is greater than any enemy.  Nothing is too big for God.

I am thankful that God put me in the cave, all those years ago.  My faith grew, that fateful day. When I look back at my prayer journal I used to keep (I need to start doing that again), I can clearly see the blessings that have come out of some of those darkest times in my life.  When life is good, I need to be reminded how Jesus was my rock in the storms of life.


Madison said...

Addicts can plow right through everything you own, $700 at a time. It will never be enough. I'm glad you are only listening. I'll say a prayer for you tonight.

Dad and Mom said...

I agree that $700 turns into $1000 and then to $10,000 and will not end. However I have one thing to add other than to just pray about it.

I have found my son is sorely missing problem solving skills. I believe those skills really begin to develop at the age when he was heavily into drugs. When he comes to me asking questions such as your son was asking he may have been asking for help but only knew how to ask for money.

We take for granted our problem solving because it was learned so long ago. We are able to see OPTIONS. We are able to recognize helpless and hopeless and know the difference. My suggestion to you next time instead of responding with pray about it try to see if your son is receptive to teaching in a soft manner.

Our son's must learn to problem solve without the only answer to them being "oh well nothing is ever going to work so I might as well get high." Teach about goal setting, teach about developing action plans, teach about measuring progress. Isn't there something in the bible about giving a fish or teaching to fish?

Midnitefyrfly said...

It can be hard to look at someone you love going through life lessons. Even when they are small and it is as simple as allowing them to waste their allowance on a toy you know will break and be a disappointment, and then it does, but they learn to think before they act in those lessons. Your son is at a point where big life lessons are going to continue presenting.

You are being a good listener while allowing him to learn for himself. Hopefully his problem solving will present itself.

Cheri said...

Praying with you as you undergird your B with prayer at this time. Yes, God has him in a cave, and He is getting his attention. And just as you have never forgotten the lessons you learned and how your faith grew, I agree with you in prayer that one day B will look back on this time of his life and see God's handiwork.

You are a faithful praying mom, and God hears your every prayer. What we sometimes perceive as God's tardiness is just His way of making sure that our children never forget the lessons they are about to learn.

God hugs,

Angelo said...

Hey mom and dad, she handled it the right way. I agree with what you said but, it doesn't apply to her. B knows the the hell he's doing. He knows the difference between helplessness and hopelessness. B knows he got that little bit of money left and is trying to play on mom to use that money to handle this situation.


Anonymous said...


I couldn't have said this any better..."We forget that when what seems our darkest hours, that sometimes God has allowed this to happen to us for a reason. He doesn't rescue us, but allows us to suffer the consequences from the choices that we make that are in direct disobedience to Him.",
and from an recovering addict's point of view, it is right on...These are B's lessons that HE needs to learn....God Bless you and yours..Carolyn