(Heads up, friends. Though I’ve tried to be delicate, there’s some adult stuff in this one. Like most of my work, it’s a true story, just a bit more literary in nature. Tread lightly. Sacred territory here. Thanks for the nudge, Marie.)
From my second floor office window I see her waving to the ice cream truck as it rounds the corner. It slows and pulls to the curb. With an excited hop she breaks into a sprint, off to collect her special treat.
Like a comet’s tail, her flaming red hair trails behind, flowing in the wind. Wide eyes. Mouth agape. Both betray a child’s joyous heart. Alabaster skin covered in a constellation of freckles. Tube socks worn from summertime adventures are bunched around her ankles, revealing bruised shins and scabby knees. Telltale trophies of kickball, hopscotch, and double-dutch jump rope.
(As seen on The Today Show, Good Housekeeping, HerViewFromHome, ScaryMommy, The Huffington Post, Mamamia, MomsEveryday, and numerous social and news media outlets. UPDATED – 3/3/2017)
Friends, as most of you know, I get to spend an hour each week with a group of young people going through addiction recovery. Yes. Young people. I’m talking teenagers who are locked away for at least six months as they learn to overcome their addictions. I’m always humbled and honored to get this time with these beautiful young souls that have been so incredibly assaulted by a world they have yet to understand. This also comes with the bittersweet knowledge that these kids still have a fighting chance while several of my friends have already had to bury their own children.
Recently I asked these kids a simple question: “How many of you have found yourself in situations where things started happening that you weren’t comfortable with, but you stuck around, mainly because you felt like you didn’t have a way out?”
They all raised their hands.
Every single one of them. Continue reading
The text messages went something like this:
Me: “Stuck at the DMV. I may not make it out of here any time soon. You might need a backup plan for this morning.”
Alex: “Who waits to renew their license until the day before it expires? Other than me, of course.”
What could I say? I’m a moron. I often put myself in these impossible situations. I knew I wouldn’t get out of the DMV in time for our group (Alex and I lead a weekly Bible study with teens going through an addiction recovery program). Maybe it’s stupidity, but I sometimes find myself giving hope a chance to prove my inner-realist wrong. Possibly I just like to put myself in a position where I can once more smother life out of that starry-eyed youngster in my soul: “What the heck were you thinking, you freaking idiot?!” Continue reading