Yesterday, as we were walking into therapy, one of Ethan's friends called on my cell phone. He was calling to ask if it would be OK for him to give our phone number to someone who wanted to talk to us.
They wanted to talk to us because their nephew had overdosed on drugs and the family was faced with making decisions.
They remembered Ethan.
I told Ethan's friend to please give them our number.
As I sat on the bench outside the medical building, sadness swept over me. I was back in ICU watching my child die. Wandering what went wrong. Why were we there? Waiting to wake up from a terrible dream.
I felt sick to my stomach as I thought about our experience and the fact someone else was living it at that very moment. I hate, absolutely hate, hearing about another young life destroyed by drugs. Destroyed by lies that come out of the mouth of Satan himself. It makes me angry. I feel my self start to tremble as I think about another mind and body broken by drugs. Another family crushed by grief and confusion. My hands are shaking as the anger rises up inside of me.
The anger I feel is in no way directed towards that young man lying in a hospital. It's directed at the drugs that destroy. To the liar that makes them appealing. That makes them "appear" safe. Directed to the lies that have been orchestrated for each individual victim. Where there is hurt. Where there is vulnerability. He is smart. He knows what it will take to entice. To seduce.
I hate this deceiver. Sometimes as I go through my day I let my guard down. I forget there is an enemy out there who Jesus said comes to "steal from me. Who comes to kill and destroy." John 10 : 10. We are so willing to read warnings on food packages. We read warnings on our medical prescriptions. We remind our kids about the warnings on cigarette packages from the Surgeon General. About driving too fast. About not wearing their seat belts. I could go on and on.
But...do we remind them of the warning that their Creator has given them? Do we listen to this warning He has given us?
The deceiver is an artist. He will paint whatever picture it takes to do his job. Ethan's dad and I have had conversations about this with Ethan. One of the effects of Ethan's brain injury has been his inability to lie. After 41/2 years, I am beginning to catch him in a few contradictions. It's amazing. The first lie I caught him in after his injury, was one about the person who sold him the drugs. This person was supposed to be his friend. A friend Ethan hasn't seen since he was hurt. Ethan meant for the lie to protect this person. Ethan didn't want us to be mad at him.
Ethan's honesty, though painful, has given us a first hand education about drugs. Who sells them. What kinds of drugs kids are using. The whys. The lies.
The deceiver has an answer for every question. Dangerous? Hey, so is sky diving. So is bungee jumping. So is repelling down the side of a mountain. People do it all the time. Look at him. Remember, you saw him under the influence before. He's fine. Just read about drugs on the computer. Get all the info you can. You'll be safe.
Addicting? You're stronger than that. You can stop anytime you want. You're young and strong and healthy. One day you will have to be responsible. This is the time to try new things. You're only young once. Take advantage of it.
Illegal? So is underage drinking. So is driving over the speed limit. Just be discreet. Be smart. You are safe as long as you are in your own apartment.
It makes you feel good. Hey, it's no different than taking a prescription drug like so and so or so and so. Everybody takes drugs for something. This is no different. They just have a prescription. If they weren't OK, doctors wouldn't prescribe them.
They will just chill you out. They'll make you a better you. Aren't you tired of worrying? Aren't you tired of feeling out of place or self-conscious? These will just loosen you up a bit. Not mess you up.
I could go on and on.
Sickening, isn't it?
I think it makes people feel safer, less afraid, when they can think that the people that get involved with drugs are just losers. Or spoiled brats that don't care about anybody but themselves. That is one reason I have had such a difficult time sharing what happened to Ethan. I have not wanted people to judge my child for something he is not nor has ever been. But, I have come to the conclusion that protecting Ethan or our family from what people think is not worth the silence. Silence that might allow another child to be destroyed. Silence that might allow another family to live a nightmare.
God knows my child. He knows the lies he believed. And He also knows the lies that I have believed. The lies we have all believed.
And the amazing thing is that His grace is sufficient. It is sufficient for Ethan. For the nephew of the one who wanted to talk to me. His grace is sufficient for you and your children.
Something has to be done. Enough lives have been taken. Enough dreams have been stolen. Enough moms and dads and brothers and sisters have lost too much.
God, I just ask You right now, to use me, to use my family, to make a difference. To let us be in the fight for your children or your grandchildren. I pray the anger I feel won't fade. That I won't forget that my phone might ring again with another heartbroken family looking for hope.
I haven't yet heard from the family of the young man whom the call was about yesterday. I don't know what happened to him. I prayed yesterday for God to please be in this for them the same way He was in it for us. I reminded Him of all He had done for us and I ask Him to please do it once again. To give them the same strength and the same comfort. The same miracle.
I know this family needs our prayers. Please, before you click off this post lift this child and his family up to the God who is full of mercy and compassion. To the God who says there is nothing too hard for Him to do.
God bless you and may He keep you and yours safe.