Sunday, November 4, 2007

Separating the Sheep from the Prodigals

Friday night, (it would behoove you to read that one first - I decided Heather was right -see comments - and added the hyperlink for your comprehension) the Lord impressed it upon my heart that Jason was a single lost sheep.

And God chases after those lone lost sheep, knows the strengths and weaknesses of each one, knows the very number of hairs on each of their heads, and desperately tries to bring them back.

Saturday morning, on the phone with him, he was a prodigal son, telling me that "he needed to think about it" re: the action plan I'd laid out for him. It was as follows:

Plan A - Sobriety version
Walk over to nearby, second-choice homeless shelter

Make use of their day shelter program, getting food to eat and opportunity to stay away from temptation

Walk over to the first choice shelter at night (2 blocks away from the second choice shelter, but much better staff and programs)

Hook up with the case manager and map out intensive plan to stay sober for the next 3 weeks until his personal leave from the LocalWorkCampSobrietyProgram was up and he could return

Plan B - Reduction of Harm Model
Keep on drinking, ensuring that he would have to stay out on the streets for the night

However, if he made this choice, I would only be willing to help him locate gear from local resources to survive the weather.

I clearly and firmly told him that if he wanted to make the latter choice, I wouldn't judge him, but that all I would and could do for him was locating the gear. I also told him it was best to make this decision while it was daylight. He refused to make a coherent decision, insisting that he "think about it."

He did ask me to make a phone call to his mother, in Golden, though, and let her know that he was ok.

I obliged - albeit really not wanting to. I did not want to let go of this man that I barely knew. Did not want to give up on this lost sheep that God so fortuitously had put in our path. Did not want to call his mother and say, "Your son was ok last night, but I really don't know what his story is tonight."

But I did...and wonder of wonders, he'd been completely honest with me with the timeline of recent events. His mother sounded like a delightful woman, a woman etched with worry re: her son, and yet resigned to the fact that nothing she could do would help him. As defeated as she sounded about that, she was grateful that I'd called. When I told her my feelings about divine intervention, she said that I was an answered prayer for her, and how awesome that God would use the right person for this little run-in. She thought that maybe his hearing reality from someone who was a perfect stranger might sink in a little more than the family nagging him.

Jason called again at 6:30 last night, claiming to be drunk, at a church, and with staff from LocalWorkCampSobrietyProgram "right next to him," but he still couldn't go back. But funny thing, said staff didn't want to talk when I asked Jason if I could speak to him.

"So, what do you think?" He asked, begging the question as to the feasibility of an encore motel stay.

"Jason, this is what I think. I think you need a lot of help, but you're not ready to accept it. I think I gave you two viable options for your personal safety, one of them that didn't exclude drinking, and you still chose to avoid making a choice. And now, you screwed yourself out of either one. That's what I think, Jason."

I could hear him gulping, as I continued,"Now, here's what I know. I know that your mother loves you, because I spoke with her this afternoon. I know that she would do whatever she could to help you. I know that she's stopped bailing you out because she knows it is not actually helping you. I know that an addict must hit rock bottom before really committing to change. Perhaps a night out in the cold will do that for you, and I am not willing to rob you of the very thing that might well change your life. I know that I will be praying for you, and my church will be, and your mother will be too. You have my number - know that you can call it any time you are ready to make a commitment."

And then he thanked me, choking up, telling me that I'd been an angel to him, an angel, he added, that didn't put up with BS.

Hanging up the phone, I let him go. Much like the prodigal son's father must have felt, I realized that Jason was no longer just a wandering sheep that had gotten lost, rather, he deliberately made an informed decision, opting for a path of destruction.

The only connection I have to this man is a couple hours in time, and his mother's phone number, and yet I am grieved.

But greater than the grief, is hope. Somehow this was all orchestrated by the Lord of Lords. And I know that even when our free will fouls up His plans, He makes lemonade with our lemons, and that this is not yet finished...God might tie this up with another encounter with Jason, or maybe this encounter, combined with my connections and work, might prove helpful in securing better discharge coordination policies*, a safe haven for people who've been using, or a more localized detox.

*Jason had been taken to RegionalDetox about a week ago, after his mom had picked him up at the airport, wherein she'd found him drunk upon return from the family funeral and had hauled his butt back to LocalWorkCampSobrietyProgram. She actually didn't get him there, as he jumped out of the car, while moving. He did eventually go there on his own, and he'd been taken to RegionalDetox for a few days, but had been released on Wednesday, with nowhere to go. He'd been drinking for about 3 days straight by Friday night.

Still, Jason is a person, and I can't quite separate the sheep from the prodigal about him. Would ya'll say a prayer for him?



  1. Sad.

    I know the grip the bottle has.

    Actually, I wrote this post before I found your blog. You might like it, though you'll have to cut and paste the link:

  2. God WILL use this for His glory - we may not have the when and the who, but His glory has already been made known, and will continue to be - you are an important vessel(clay pot) God is using - I'll keep praying for you and your family, for Jason and his mom, and for the ability to use moments like that myself - like I said the first time i read this blog - you are amazing!