I went to see L again last night. He's having a really hard time. It's getting close to his trial date next week and he is getting very very scared. Scared that he might lose this thing and go to prison. And every bit as scared that it might be dismissed and he might be out. He told me some things that make sense. Like how many times before, when he has come close to getting out of jail, or juvie, or placement of some kind, he has done something to mess it up so he can stay inside. And how much that thought has been going through his mind this week. We talked about how much sense that makes to both of us. That there is a kind of safety inside, a comfort with the life, the routine. And also, and this is the really sad, sad part, he tells me with tears running down his face, this is what he feels he is cut out for, the life he feels he probably can't escape, no matter how hard he tries.
He carries so much pain, so much guilt, so much loss. And despite all the harshness that has surrounded him, he feels it all very, very acutely. He has not become hardened.
We covered a lot of ground last night. We talked about what it means to be a man. To have the courage of your convictions, to stand for what you believe. When you should fight for those convictions and when it might be better to walk away. About how much strength it takes to cry. We talked about freedom, and how you can be in jail and be free....and that true freedom is only in Jesus. We talked about all the people he has loved who have died, many in despair by their own hand. He told me he believes that God has forgiven them, because "God so loved the world..." We talked about life now and life after death. He thinks that one is probably a lot better than this one. This one, he says, has not been so good, so far.
I am still feeling pretty scared for him. I want so much for him to have enough hope that he can hang on through this remaining week till the trial without getting himself in trouble. To hope enough that this time might be different from before when he got out of jail and had to walk with one shoe the twenty miles home because there was no other way to get there. That this time there is a place where he can live while he gets his life together. That there will be a caring community to support him. That he is not alone after all. I just kept saying it. "We are here, we are waiting, we are praying, we care." I am not sure he was convinced.