That was then …This is now….
A Tale of Mother and Son
It’s 4 AM on a summer morning in Utah. The steady, piercing call notification jars me back to consciousness… It could only be one thing.
My heart races as I fumble in the dark trying to find my phone and pick up the call. I know it’s our son who has given up his summer break to teach sustainable living skills to the beautiful people of Africa. As I hit the vibrating green button I hear his slightly stressed, yet contained voice……
“Mom…(deep breath)…..I’m sitting in a jail cell with a bunch of other locals. My phone has half a bar but won’t connect to anyone…. Will you please try and get me some help…..”
In the split-second between shock and panic, snapshots in time race through my mind….
“Mom! Cam fell into a window well, he’s cut up and bleeding real bad. I don’t know what to do. He’s high and won’t let me take him home.”
“Mom we got pulled over at In-N-Out. Drew stashed his stuff in the trunk. I didn’t know but the police found it and say that they have to get your permission to release me. Mom! I swear, on my life, I didn’t know…. “
“Mom… I’m sorry… I don’t know why I do such stupid stuff.…”
“Mom, if you weren’t so freaking controlling and manipulative and let me do what I wanted this wouldn’t be happening to me.”
“Mom…. I hate you…. Why don’t you just leave me the hell alone…..”
That was then …. This is now…..
The phone beeps and then beeps again… Is he still there? Did I lose the connection with him?
Was this the day I had lived in fear of for so many years of this child’s life.? Was this the day I lost my son? But how could this even be? How could I relinquish him now? Now that he was clean and sober and trying to give back. Now, that in so many ways the broken and lost pieces of this young man’s heart had been restored, healed and found.
Me: “Where are you?”
Him: “I don’t know …They picked us up outside of the bank, put us in the back of a pickup truck with a bunch of locals, drove us here and threw us in jail.”
Me: “Why…. what were you doing?”
Him: “We were just walking out of the bank and these guys pulled up in a truck and told us to get in because we had broken the law. I think because we’re Americans they want to extort money from us……..”
The irony of it all. Years of praying the boy would be caught, locked up…… anywhere… somewhere I knew he would be safe …”arrested” in the development of his disease. aAn intervention of some kind, be it man-made or God-ordained. Something… anything to make this constant feeling of terror in a mother’s heart stop…. Please God!
And now this same bright, now sober, young man with a humanitarian’s heart sits in a jail cell halfway across the world…. calling out to his mom.
That was then…. This is now…..
Where and how does freedom from addiction, depression and anxiety come? One day, one hour and sometimes one heartbeat at a time. Perhaps this same young man’s words, written on his way back from the brink, may in large part tell the Tale. A Tale of hope… a Tale of healing and a Tale of rescue, not only from a jail cell in Africa, but from the depths of darkest despair that once upon a time had held him bound.
That was then….. This is now……
“So you get up, stand straight and smile. As crazy as it seems.You have the opportunity of a lifetime: to find what true happiness means. It seemed like a mirage … one second there, the next second gone. But love will always outshine the darkness; it’s been with you all along.”
Member, Council for Sustainable Healing