Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oh mother, I’m scared to close my eyes

I’m not dead, ma.”  Enildo spoke quietly into the phone that I handed him. “I’m still here.”

It has been over a year since he last spoke to her and she had been anxious to visit - or at least receive news of his situation - for some time. She had not been able to visit him during his nine months in rehab and had wanted to visit the four grandchildren in our care but was worried about getting lost in the city (her other sons too intoxicated to be of any help).

Where? McDonalds. What? Its a...diner.

I was sitting opposite him as he spoke, anxious the whole time that the call would come to an abrupt end and cut off some important expression of remorse or consolation. In the end (by some miracle), the 5p credit remaining on my phone covered the complete call between mother and son and there was even a few minutes to spare for me to arrange a future visit. 

Over the preceding minutes, a connection was awkwardly re-established and, perhaps, courage and a sense of purpose renewed. A promise was made, but for a crack addict who by all appearances was as thin as a promise, I sat there thankful that my hope lies not in mere words alone. 

If I failed to see the irony and occasional humour in my line of work, I would have had my first nervous breakdown in the winter of 2010. Speaking with three generations of the same family in one afternoon - each in their own way attempting to fight battles they cannot possibly win alone - I knew more than ever before that it was never just about the kids. 

I will care for both father and sons in the same way.

Dustin Hoffman on Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4


Anonymous said...

You are so correct Luke - Your hope does not lie in words alone! I am thankful that you have a strong faith. It is hope that will get you through these difficult interactions. Sending prayers your way for energy and peace.
Miss you!
In Christian bonds, Nancy V.

Anonymous said...

It must be so hard to persevere when you cannot see the difference you make. But press on - He sees the difference and He knows the value of everything you do (Matt 25:37+).

All best.

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