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       "SOMETHING HOLY, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT NOWSTELLAR KART                    

WHAT'S IN A NAME? 


I had just landed a job as assistant manager for a large apartment community.  Chloe and I were   moving into a beautiful apartment with a fireplace – lovely.

The stairs to the second floor were not so lovely for moving in.  My Dad and I and not so much Chloe trudged up and down and up and, you get the picture.

Then came the sofa.  My Dad is stronger than three men, but three men would have had a hard time getting up those stairs and around the balcony corner with that sofa.   Dad and I both kind of folded our arms because truth time had come.  We couldn’t do it.

Our neighbor with an adjoining balcony came home smiling his always smile.  About 20, handsome, boundless energy and friendly.

“I’ll help you move that!  Just a sec, my Dad’s home and he can be the third man.”

The providence of perfect timing didn’t occur to me until just now.

The good-looking one returned with his dad, Grumpy, in tow, and up and in went the sofa.  So fa, so good!

And so I met my neighbor, Matthew.  Grumpy had already disappeared behind a slammed door.   I made a huge note on my to do list:   bake Matthew some cookies!  It was number one on the list.

Then we rushed inside to wrap up the day and be ready for the morning and the new school and the new job.  That’s a lot for one single mom and already my to do list was growing and somehow number one was moving down..   Rush, rush, rush,  rush, rush, pretty normal.

 
Nearly every morning and every evening, as I rushed and rushed, I said ‘hello’ to Matthew standing on the front balcony to smoke.  He always had that great smile, never a down moment with him.  And I always thought of those unbaked cookies!

Guilt and cookies don’t go together.   And neither go with great intentions, I hadn’t even bought the chocolate chips. 

But my prevailing thought was always to take the time to make a friend of Matthew, return his kindness, and share a moment with him.  Just not at that moment.  Soon.  Really, really soon.

One noontime Matthew and I passed each other in the parking lot, Matthew driving home, waving wildly and smiling.  Me driving the half block back to the office.  I waved and smiled – what was he so excited about?  Just a fun, fun guy.  I’d never seen him driving before.  

Soon it was time to rush off and pick up Chloe.  As quickly as I could, I was back in my office in the renovated old house and situated my daughter at her homework school desk adjacent my office.

The office closed at six o’clock or as soon as possible after and we drove the half block back to our apartment.   Then picked out the clothes for tomorrow as dinner cooked.  By a quarter after seven we sat down for dinner, both needing bed more than food. 

As we began to eat, a horrible, horrible pounding started next door.  Someone was pounding so hard that our walls shook.

“Chloe, stay here!  No matter what you hear or what happens, sit here!  Mama will come back.”

Was it a robbery?  Domestic violence?

I rushed out the front door onto the balcony and there was Matthew’s dad leaning on the wooden railing in the night.

“Have you come for Matthew?” Grumpy  asked flatly.  It was too dark to see his expression, but for some reason he didn’t know that it was me, his neighbor.

“Yes.”

“He’s right in here,”  he said as he led me into their apartment.  Then he motioned behind him as he continued to the living room. 

There on the bedroom floor was Matthew.  There was a spoon with cotton in it, some matches, and a hypodermic needle in Matthew's arm.  It was too late to check for a pulse,and I really didn’t want to touch the body.  His face was hidden behind the bedroom door where he’d fallen.   Were his eyes open or closed?

Pretty soon a policeman arrived through the open front door.  I pointed the way “he’s in the bedroom.”

That horrible, horrible noise was the sound of the dad, Gary, "Grumpy", finding his dead son and beating on the walls, screaming.

The policeman stayed awhile but the scene was pretty obvious and needed a coroner rather than a cop. The policeman told us that he’d called the coroner, it might take awhile.  He wrote the number for grief counseling on a piece of paper.  All I knew to do was sit at Gary’s feet in the living room, holding his hand.

“Well, that’s all I can do for you for now, but you have the number for grief counseling there,” and the policeman left.

I just sat there with Gary.  Sometimes I kissed his hand, sometimes I patted it.  I just didn’t know what to do.

“Gary, I’m going next door to put Chloe to bed and I’ll be right back.”  Which I did, then I was.

Returning, I knelt again by the lazy boy and held Gary’s hand.  Now, Gary talked.  

And for three hours, until the coroner and his helper arrived, Gary talked about how much he loved his son.  Matthew had had problems with drugs, and that’s why he’d moved in with his Dad, to do better.  He was attending Mt. Hood Community College, getting his GED.  

“He was doing real good!  He went to his classes, he was home early.  I thought he’d make it.  I gave him $15 today for a math book, I should never have given him the money.  He bought heroin with it.”    Dad moaned and cried some more as the coroner arrived and went in to meet Matthew. 

After a brief moment the coroner returned to the living room as his helper went back out and down the stairs again. 

 “He died of a heroin overdose.  He was dead before he hit the floor.  We’ll take him to the Multnomah County coroner’s office and you can call them with your instructions.”  The coroner was a very nice, compassionate man but dead is dead, and there’s nothing else to it. 

He handed us his card, then he and his helper, who’d returned with a black package, put Matthew’s body in the bag and zipped it up.  Then they carried his stiffening body out and around the corner and down the stairs with great difficulty.    In fact, it was more difficult than Matthew getting my sofa up and in. 

Now it was eleven.  I brought some dinner over for Gary. I had the gall to pray over the dinner, and Gary had the honesty to cuss God out; he hated the notion of God.  I waited a bit before leaving for the night. 

Three o’clock in the morning and I’m wildly awake. 

“Oh, Father!  God!!  If only I’d baked him those cookies and spent time with him.  I just waved and thought ‘tomorrow’.  And there is no tomorrow!  O, God!  I’m so, so sorry.  O, my God.  And now it’s too late.”  I kept seeing his dead body and dead is dead, there’s nothing else to it.

“WHAT KIND OF NAME IS ‘MATTHEW’?”

“It’s a Bible name.”

“RIGHT.  DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY GENERATIONS HAVE PRAYED FOR THEIR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN IN THIS FAMILY?

“Is he with You, Lord?”

“YOU DON’T KNOW.  I KNOW

“YOU DON’T KNOW THE TIMES, THE PLACES, THE PRAYERS OR MY PLAN.  I DO.  AND NOW YOU KNOW, NEVER AGAIN SAY ‘TOMORROW’.

“Wherever you go, ”  Matthew 16:15

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    "AWAKE AND ALIVE"  SKILLET   
      
NEVER AGAIN SAY TOMORROW
      

 After two months as resident assistant manager, I had met all but one of the occupants of 147 apartments.  Every day was a whirlwind of driving Chloe to school, opening the office, renting apartments, moving people out,  moving people in, tending to maintenance staff issues, keeping the pool records, never enough time in the day.    

Then back at three o’clock to pick my daughter up from school and complete three more frenzied hours.  Every day was unpredictable and hugely beyond me.  But the long-time resident managers, a husband and wife team, were always on site somewhere. 


“Hello, thank you for calling Waverly Gardens!  What can I do for you?”

“Please, please!  You’ve got to help me.  The police won’t help and we’ve called everyone who should help but no one is willing to do a welfare check on my friend.”  A woman’s voice, very frantic.

“What’s going on?”  I asked.  And here’s a summary:

Mr. Enfield was their accountant and he’d never missed a day of work.  Today was payroll and he hadn’t shown up for work yesterday and today.  He didn’t answer the phone.   He hadn’t answered his door when the company came out to check on him.  She absolutely knew he was in his apartment, his car was there, and he needed help!

The cardinal rule of apartment management is to never, but never enter someone’s door without their consent or a signed legal notice.  The police had referred the caller to me because they didn’t have a key and he hadn’t yet been missing for four days.

No way, lady.  Of course I didn’t say it out loud!

“Please, I know he’s in there and he needs help.  You’ve gotta help him.”

Oh, gee.  Visions of slip and fall, heart attack, lots of possibilities with Mr. Enfield left on the floor, incapacitated but maybe still alive.  I couldn’t just walk away from that possibility, one person is all it takes to save a life.  But I wanted two,

So I called Darrell, my maintenance supervisor, and told him to come to the office quickly, I needed him to be my witness as I entered the apartment.   

Darrell came immediately and I hopped into the maintenance cart.  Darrell was apoplectic that I was entering an apartment without permission, it called for immediate termination.

OK, hmmm, let’s see:  me keeping my wonderful, wonderful job or saving someone’s life?  It wasn’t even a decision, it had to be done.  I didn’t know what I’d find but I couldn’t take a chance on doing nothing. 

Darrell banged on the door, “Maintenance!  Maint-nance!”  There wasn’t a sound inside.  I opened the door.

Completely dark inside, all the windows covered over with black plastic letting no light in.  Cold and creepy.  Darrell went straight ahead through the living room, dining area, kitchen.  I made a right and explored the single bedroom.  I was terrified.  I looked around slowly.  I looked under the bed.   Absolutely terrified, I slowly opened the closet doors.  Nothing inside.

Very quickly and very stiffly we exited.

I called the woman and told her there was no sign of Mr. Enfield and nothing looked unusual.  My heart raced for a long time.

I felt so stupid.   I dreaded Wednesday morning when I’d have to report my transgression.

You what????  Of all the residents here, Enfield is the most absolutely private person.  He never lets anyone go into his place.  And you actually went in there?  Oh, boy.”

Then it was my weekend, two days off  to wait and see if it was going to be years off, instead.

Upon return, my boss, the resident manager smirked at me.  “There’s nothing at all wrong with Enfield.  He’d taken off suddenly to LA, he came back, he paid his rent in person as always.  No one mentioned that you went inside looking for him.  Just hope you don’t get us all sued for that!”

It was a very chilly week. 

The managers’ next two days off came and I was still pretty subdued.  Rigid, one might say.  Late on the first solo day a lady came into the office frantically.

“Please!  You’ve gotta help.  My friend came back from LA last Friday and I saw him and we decided to meet up for dinner at five.  I came back, the lights were all on, everything looked exactly the same, but he didn’t answer the door.  His car’s parked here.   I used to live here with him, we were roommates, and I just know there’s something wrong!”

“Is his name En--field?”

“And I’ve come back every day.  The lights never change, the car hasn’t moved, and I can’t get him to answer the door!  I know he’s in there, you’ve gotta go in there.   Please!  Something’s wrong. 

This woman wasn’t frantic because it was payday and Enfield did payroll.  She was a close friend, ostensibly, and her report was credible:  lights hadn’t changed, car hadn’t moved, he didn’t answer.

I reached my hands out to her across the table, we held hands as I prayed “Father God, You are the Father of the spirits of all mankind and You give everyone his breath.  Please give Mr. Enfield back his spirit and his breath and give me one chance to tell him how much You love him before he meets You.”

Then I called Darrell again.  Darrell said he’d drive me down there but that’s it.  He needed his job, too.

Same drill:  knock, knock, knock “Maint-nance”.  Knock, knock, knock “Maint-nance!” 

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 Darrell opened the door then slammed it shut “He’s dead, shut it up, there’s no use going in.  Call the police and let them clean it up.  That’s what they get paid for.”

There was a terrible stench, one that always stays with you.

“I’m going in.”  And I pushed open the door.

It was nearly as dark as before.  The entryway was filled with an opened suitcase with most of its contents all over the floor.  I went straight in this time to the living room with its fireplace and there, in the adjoining dining area was an army surplus desk, metal - 

and next to the desk on the floor, Mr. Enfield’s naked body, face down, in a huge dark oval of some kind of liquid all around him. 

And on the desk, the telephone.  Right next to the body.  It was the only apparent telephone, so I walked over next to Mr. Enfield and called  9-1-1.  

“Hello, I need police, Gresham.  I’m at 257 NE 201st, and someone is dead here.  Hurry!

“Well, if he’s dead, we won’t hurry.” replied 911.  

“WHAT DID YOU ASK ME FOR?”

“Well, I don’t know that he’s dead, I don’t want to look at him, please hurry!”  I didn’t want to see what it was that had leaked out in that dark oval, and I didn’t want to see what had happened to him.

“OK, we’ll send someone right away.  Stay on the phone with me until help arrives.”

Which meant I had to stay next to the body, the naked body, right next to it.  It didn’t move, it didn’t breathe, dead is dead. 

“YOU ASKED ME FOR SOMETHING.” 

Mr. Enfield's left shoulder twitched like a horse's flank twitches when a fly lands on it.  But no breathing, no moving, just that one quiver.  I remember a hand towel the color of split pea soup covering part of one buttock.  I remember the stench, that ominous dark oval surrounding the body and how much I wanted to just scream and run.

Oh, the smell!  Oh, it never left me, the smell is still with me even today!  Please, feet, run - run out the door before the smell moves into me.  Oh, please, shower, make the smell go away.  The smell!

And I heard sirens coming forever from far off.  Then they were louder and nearer, please hurry!  Then the sirens paused in places as the emergency vehicles threaded their way through the interior roadways.  Then I heard people shouting, maybe they were asked for directions and were shouting over the sirens, and more people shouting.  Then the sirens stopped outside and I skirted around the body and the oval and escaped to the balcony and began praying with my hands up.  With half of the community there by now, I stood there on the second floor balcony praying with my hands held up to God.   Life and death overcame good sense and 'professional' pride. 

I stepped aside as the response team stormed inside with their supplies.    Then they began to exit and they weren't hurrying at all.

I looked at one of the men with question mark eyebrows.

“He’s dead,” the fireman said.

I walked down to the sidewalk to join Darrell and Mr. Enfield’s friend and I put my arm around her.  Then suddenly the responders started rushing around and got a bright yellow blanket and stretcher.  “He’s alive.”

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“WHAT DID YOU ASK ME FOR?”    

“What’s going on?” I asked one of the team.

“He’s alive.”  He screamed, his face looked frozen but the rest of him moved incredibly fast.  Maybe he was perplexed and didn’t have time for explanations.  But then, he had no explanation.

O, my God!  Nothing was really making sense to me as I stood with my arm around Mr. Enfield's friend.

Soon Mr. Enfield was loaded inside and everyone left with sirens blazing.  I returned to the office where guests were still waiting.  I showed the property to them, rented the apartment and left to pick Chloe up from school.

Instead of asking about her day as usual, I told her about Mr. Enfield.  I told her about the prayer.  I told her that he was alive again!     Chloe has always been able to understand adult talk and she knew God.  I think it didn’t seem really big to her that God would answer prayer, of course He would.

We were both drained by our day as we locked up the office around seven.

“We’re going to go see Mr. Enfield now?” 

“Oh, honey, I don’t think so.”  She had no idea what she was asking for.  And she hadn't smelled the smell!

"But mom,"

“Sweetie, it’s late.  Mr. Enfield is in the intensive care unit and they won’t let us go in there under any circumstances.  You have to be an adult and you have to be family and we’re not!”  Even if he’s still there, alive, I thought.

She started in on her campaign to go see Mr. Enfield and it was a very short campaign:  “Mom, you have to go.  You asked God for a chance to talk to Mr. Enfield about Him and God said ‘Yes’ and you can’t say ‘no, maybe tomorrow.’  God says ‘Go!”.

As tired as I was, I knew it was easier to drive up to the hospital, park, and get turned down than to live with Chloe’s  strong will about this.  Off we went.  

Parked the car, took the elevator to the second floor and quietly walked up the long hallway to the locked doors of ICU.  I pushed the intercom button:

“Hello”

“Hi, we’re here to see Mr. Enfield.”  The doors started to open.

“Come on in, he’s the first one on the right,” the intercom said.  In we went.

I pulled aside the curtain and there he was, I guessed.  Having never seen him before, I couldn’t recognize him then.  It was very odd.  Not surreal, Unreal

He was lying there completely still and covered up to his neck in a perfect white sheet with no wrinkles.  His eyes were closed.  Lots of tubes went into his left arm under the sheet.  His face was missing skin, his flesh looked like the proud flesh on an injured horse, he’d been skinned significantly.  What was missing from him was back there in his carpet with the smell.  

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Machines blipped but he was breathing on his own.  We quietly waited, for what?  So I slipped my hands under the sheet and groped around carefully looking for his right hand.  I found it, which started our conversation.                                       


"Hi, Mr. Enfield.  This is your friend, Lydia, we met this afternoon.  Soooo, I’m so glad to see you again.”  Holding his hand, I started to pray
.
  

“Father God, thank you so much for Mr. Enfield.  And thank you so much for your great love for him and giving us this chance to pray together.   And thank you  that Mr. Enfield believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and that by believing in Him, he is forgiven.  He is born again and saved.  And he has eternal life with You.  We accept Your love and we believe in Your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”

And Mr. Enfield squeezed my hands, firmly, three times.  Nothing else moved.  Nothing looked alive.  I didn’t know whether to pass out, throw up or offer congratulations.  No way was anyone ever going to believe this!  I needed a witness!

“Mr. Enfield, I brought my daughter, Chloe, here to meet you tonight.  Can you please do that again for her?”  And I placed her small hand in his.

And Mr. Enfield squeezed her hand so hard she jumped.

“Thank you.  We’ll leave now, and I’ll come back to visit tomorrow.”

Nothing moved.  Nothing looked alive.  We didn’t say much on the way home until Chloe remembered she was starving, so we picked up Chinese to go.

All that I remember of the next day is being there but not all there.  After closing the office, I went to see Mr. Enfield again.

I went right in again.  He looked the same and nothing showed me that he knew I was there.  What to do?  I found his hand again and held it while I chatted about Waverly and the day.  That took only seconds.  At a loss for what to do or anything more to say, I sang old hymns with closed eyes.  It was still very difficult to look at him.  

After some time something felt odd and I opened my eyes again.  Mr. Enfield’s family had quietly arrived and were standing there staring at me.  Awkward, I introduced myself and quickly escaped.


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I would go see my new friend every couple of days.  Some of his family members also visited me in the office, saying thankyou.    

Always wondering what to do, what would happen, so at our next visit I just held his hand.

“Mr. Enfield, do you want to worship today?” and his right eye flew open wide and tears came down as he squeezed my hand. 

Clearly, Mr. Enfield rallied to worship.  It must have been just too much for him to come back from wherever he was but he’d do it for the worship of God.  He knew things I didn’t know.  He had seen things I haven’t seen.  It scared me to see him really alive.

As time went on, and his family visiting him, my visits grew further apart.  Always in the back of my mind I thought of visiting soon.    And one day I went.  

I arrived once again at the ICU and the intercom voice said “Oh, he’s been transferred, he’s not here anymore.  Go up to the nurse's station on the next floor, and they’ll help you there.”  Whew, transferred but not dead! 

I checked in upstairs and they invited me to have a seat and wait, it looked so empty.  There were a lot of sideways glances and whispers.  After awhile someone came out and invited me to follow her.  We went to a small room.

“We discharged Mr. Enfield and he was transferred to a rest home.”  She said.     

“Transferred?   Oh, goodness, he is doing well!”  Over time, he’d had several operations to remove dead intestines and pieces of lungs and other parts which had decomposed during those four and a half days before he was found, before someone had prayed.  The subfloor under him had required removal with acid to move all of Mr. Enfield out.

“First he learned to communicate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ by blinking.  Then he began to rehabilitate to writing with his right hand.  He was very direct with his communications and perfectly clear.”

“Miss, Mr. Enfield passed away recently.  After his first two days here his heart and breathing stopped and he died.  We brought him back but he needed to be on life support.  We can’t take someone off life support.  We transferred Mr. Enfield to a rest home, according to his wishes, to be allowed to die.

“I’ve never seen anyone who wanted to, to go home as much as he did.  He was able to communicate by writing: home.  And every time he was left alone he ripped out all his IV and breathing support.  He didn’t want to be here anymore.  He had seen something, somewhere that made him happy and he wanted to be there.”

“PRAYER ANSWERED.  TRANSFERRED, TRANSFORMED, ALIVE:  'Why are you seeking the living among the dead'? "

“I am the resurrection and the life”  John 11:25
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        "ALWAYS ENOUGH"   CASTING CROWNS

WHILE IT'S STILL CALLED TODAY

Today

 

  "An 11-year-old boy has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering a 3-year-old, admitting he beat the toddler with a baseball bat and dumped him face down in a drainage ditch.

"Aaron Kean, who was 10 at the time of the crime, told a judge Thursday that he brutalized the youngster because the boy was bothering him and wanted to use his scooter."

 December

"A convicted killer... lured teenagers into his apartment with offers of alcohol and drugs.. the rundown apartment house from which investigators this week removed the bodies of three teenagers... his record includes a murder conviction for the death of a 15-year-old boy in Illinois and a conviction in Texas for committing bodily injury to a child ...
".. was released on $300 bond the same day.... the fresh 8-foot-by-8-foot concrete pad was found in the basement... revealed two of the bodies, wrapped in plastic and tied with cords and tape.... third body was removed Wednesday."

12

"A caravan of trucks left at first light Friday to join the search for a 22-year-old college student who disappeared three weeks ago from ..."

2OO3

". . . contending that he was so brainwashed by Muhammad, whom he considered his father, that he did not know right from wrong. Prosecutors on Thursday questioned Malvo's claim that he pulled the trigger in only two killings..."

.................................................................................... United Press International December 12, 2003

 

He was one of my favorite adult students. Crisply attired, immaculately turned out, everything about him glowed. He was sincere, hardworking, and your basic overachiever.   He'd joined my singing class because tap dancing was too undignified for him.   He reminded me of Captain Kennedy, S.S. President Wilson, American President Lines, and actually they had much in common: each lived in a fully-contained universe, both dressed in freshly pressed uniforms and ate three precisely scheduled meals daily.   One was the captain en route to a concert tour in Japan on a luxury liner and he had a terrific pension plan.   The other, my eager pupil, was guaranteed three hots and a cot in San Quentin Prison every day for life without the possibility of  parole.  Murdering a cop brings some kind of security.

Showing off one day after class, Greg said "Don't you know who I am? I'm famous! There's a guy named Wambaugh wrote a book about me!  My name is Gregory Ulas Powell, don't you know about me?"

Hadn't heard of the book but vaguely remembered the headlines about some onion field in, Vacaville? No, Visalia? I made it my business to not know the details about my students, none of my business. I felt it made me more effective, professional, that way.   Professional what no one knew: during the reign of the SLA, the fatal shootout at the Marin County courthouse down the road, the manhunt for the dangerous version of Patti Hearst, but then, no one knew who I really was, either.    Easy in, easy out: no ID, no permits, just an "inspectorscope station".   Good ol' days.

One time I'd made the trip to San Quentin Prison for nothing because my chaperone hadn't shown up.   The looks on my guys' faces were devastating the next time I got in, especially Joe: so black he almost shone blue at night, smiling and crying, "by and by, by and by".    So then that night when the guards waved me through the first inspector station, then through the first huge gate alone and into the longest corridor in the world, I just kept walking...

And walked right on through as the second gate o-o-o-o-o-o-o-opened and right into the north courtyard on a very dark night. I didn't look back as I heard that deep boooom-claaaank of the gate closing again behind me.   I just kept walking ~ I knew my way and thank you very much.

It was acting class night, which was really my sneaky way of teaching reading.  We were having a great time until all the noise started.   I mean noise: sirens, shouts, loudspeakers.  Booooom-clanging-shouting-sounds of a lockdown were drowned out by men shoving me to the floor and piling on top of me.   Then they got really quiet, no one moved. Freeze frame.

See, someone had just figured out that there was a lone female wandering around somewhere at night in San Quentin Prison without any guards.   With the 'no hostage policy' official in the State of California and the lifers of San Quentin, they knew it was way too late.  Shouts and guns roared in, which is why those men had piled on top of me: to save me.  So when a torn paperback called "The Onion Field" floated by me a few years ago, I tried to read it. Couldn't. Couldn't do it. It was too gross.

Not about the murder, I didn't get that far. About Greg's boyhood, his growing up time. The 'lifestyle' he'd inherited, it's 'values', his 'heroes'.  Left alone in strange places for days at a time while his mom was out.    Not so much what was done to him, but what no one did for him.    I kept wondering "where were all the caring people?"   When he was moldable and shapable and God's fingerprints were still there in the young, soft clay? When he was hungry or scared or sat alone, discarded for days and began to disconnect and harden because his connectors atrophied, where were all those great people who care?

    Just one hug might have done it.       
        Just one.
            From some one.
                   Not a program, not a production. 
            Just some one stopping to care.
        Hey, buddy, can you spare a hug?

                               TODAY    



                    “Encourage the oppressed”    Isaiah 1:17


It was December 12th, 2003 when I wrote this story.  Now it's December 19, 2011, and this headline demands attention:

Study: 1 in 3 Arrested by 23 Years Old

A shocking report released today (Monday) says nearly one in three people will be arrested by the time they turn 23-years-old.  The study is in the Journal of Pediatrics. 

The national study is an analysis of data collected between 1997 and 2008.  The arrests included: truancy, vandalism, underage drinking, shoplifting, robbery, assault and murder.

It did not include minor traffic offenses.  Not all of the arrests may have resulted in criminal charges.

1 in 3!

These are crazy numbers which explain much of the craziness of our world today.  But perhaps not tomorrow!

In "While it's still called today", I asked the question 'Where were all the caring people?" and the clear answer is "TOO".  Too busy, too tired, to callous, too self-absorbed.

In December, a young man walked into our mall and started shooting.  Yes, he killed people before killing himself. 

And I will always wonder:  had he and I ever brushed shoulders with him in the crowd?  Had I seen him before?  If I had, did I take the time to connect with his eyes and smile?

Which is why I sometimes go to McD's just to wait for God to send the people who need encouragement, to smile and to listen to them.  I'm never, ever disappointed.  

This you can do. 

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