Monthly Archives: September 2011

better tomorrow

its 11:16pm on sunday evening.  i sit in front of the computer, slouched on my left elbow on the bed, writing a blog posting in hopes that it will cure the emotional pain my heart cant seem to deal with on its own.  my eyes are dry now only because theyve been drained of whatever water they once held.  yes, i do cry, and no, i dont mind admitting it.

my day hasnt been all that bad.  pax (my church) held its first annual labour day football game today.  singles against the married.  not being single but not yet married, i quarterbacked the single squad.  using superior strategy and a bit of high school trickery we put our married opponents in a deep hole that they couldnt recover from.  while two hand was the mode of stopping play, you wouldnt have guessed it by the amount of bleeding knees and bruised muscles worn by combatants.  when the final whistle sounded, the single squad stood victorious with a 28-14 score.  trophy presentation is next sunday.  i cant wait.
kat and i then headed to st andrews to help serve dinner for sunday supper.  the announcement that dinner would be hotdogs and caesar salad was met by a loud cheer followed by a quick saying of ‘grace!’.  after serving meals i sat down with neil and dave and caught up with them and their past week.  dave got himself a labour job doing maintenance work on a downtown building for very little money, but explains that it feels better ‘inside’ than selling drugs on the streets.  i tell him hes getting wiser in his old age.  he feigns being offended by my comment and i throw some salad at him.  im proud of him even if this doesnt last long, though i pray with everything in me that it does.
beaver doesnt see me coming nor the jab to the ribs i deliver to his round midsection.  he squints and bends over to the side i hit and doesnt look happy with me.  his liver isnt doing so well after relapsing this past weekend.  four and half months with no alcohol or crack washed down the tubes. i ask him if this is a blip on the screen or a full blown relapse.  he waves his hands in my face as if my question was the most absurd thing he has ever heard.  ‘of course its a blip.  im still good’.  i want to believe him.  i really do.  however, after working for addicts for the past several years, i know how addiction works.  just when you think you have it figured out, it pulls you back in..  i hope beaver has what it takes to not let it pull him back into its slavery.
i finally see glen again.  its been months since we hung out and talked.  glen used to live in one of the shelters before finding a place to live.  unfortunately when he moved, we lost contact and hadnt reconnected until today.  hes been doing well, though the place he lives is a dump (his words, not mine).  a common problem for guys trying to get out of the shelters and into affordable housing.  the only affordable housing they can usually afford are place owned my slum lords or places occupied by rats and bed bugs.  some times shelters seem like the more attractive choice.  glen and i exchange numbers and plan to meet this week for coffee.  im pumped.
just as im getting ready to leave and head home jimmy stumbles in looking for food.  obviously drunk and quite hungry, jimmy gets the kitchen staff to scrape together whats leftover of tonights dinner for him.  i sit down with him while he eats hoping to catch up with him about past few months since i saw him last.  with jimmy, the tears arent long in coming.  not two minutes in and the tears begin falling.  jimmy’s 32 year old son died three weeks ago after a skydiving accident.  he tells me that he found this out the day after having emergency surgery on his bowels.  a year back jimmy had lost his father, whom he was very close with.  this has sent him into a tailspin of alcoholism that had him drinking anything and everything with alcoholic content.  his bowels had no chance.  im afraid his heart might not either after his last loss.  i sit there alone with jimmy in the once crowded church gym not knowing what to say.  what can i say to someone who has just lost their son?  i do the only thing i can think of: i hug him.
i usually leave st andrews on sunday night feeling really good.  not tonight.  i feel defeated.  i feel helpless.  i feel like theres nothing i can do or say to make the kind of difference i feel is needed in these peoples lives.
i stare at my feet as i walk away from the church.  i dont want to look up.  kat squeezes my hand and asks me if im ok.  i shake my head because my tears wont allow me to say ‘no’. im not ok tonight.  my heart feels heavy and worn out tonight.  i feel like screaming and throwing a childish temper tantrum tonight.  i know tomorrow ill probably feel better but, for tonight, ‘better’ is a long way away.


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