So when I got to CH yesterday, L's counselor said, "Great news! L can move into his place today!" It seems the funders, realizing that he had challenges in the housing department, and, I think, being more than a little impressed that he had gone and found himself a place that would accept him, decided to overlook the inspection and give him the go-ahead to take the place. And since it was ready, due to L's hard work on it....well, why not! So last night, instead of moving him to my place, I moved the airbed to his for a temporary fix until a real bed comes along. I also took over a few of life's little necessities that I figured a nineteen year old on his own for the first time might overlook (TP for instance) and helped him get his room set up. It's a pretty cute place, upstairs over a retail store on our main commercial drag through town. It's next to the Chinese buffet and walking distance to at least four fast food places....it works! I also decided that L needed to be able to "reach out and touch" so I had gotten him a TracPhone and put some minutes on it to be used to reach me or others in his support network as needed. After we were done getting his place together, we went out to a neighborhood grill to have a burger and try to get the phone set up. I wanted to get a sense of how he was really doing with all of this. He has never been on his own, and in the afternoon at his "graduation" from CH he had made the comment that this was the longest he'd been "out of an institution" since he was nine. Interesting that he did not think of CH as "an institution." High praise for them, I'd say. But OMG....I knew this about him in a sort of abstract way, but to hear it like that....well, it knocked me over. So I wanted to feel him out, see if he was really ok with this "on my own thing." Yes the Reverend Mother is hovering! And as we talked he admitted he was pretty freaked. This week especially is hard as he is alone there. His roommate is being discharged from CH next week and will join him. At that point, things, I think will feel easier. My guy is a pack animal! He also had to go for his testing today and he was nervous about that. His ride was picking him up at 6 a.m. and both of us were a little worried that he might not get up in time. So I offered to get him an alarm clock from my place before I took him home, and he looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, "Could I just sleep on your floor tonight, please?" This from the guy who does not ask for anything. Ever. Who is afraid to be a burden. Who has, as he says, "adapted" to life with little. He is, I think, kind of an ascetic. When we were talking with his new support team about his material needs at his meeting, they kept asking him if he needed this or that and he kept turning it down. He says he doesn't mind sitting in the dark, and taking his showers short and cold because that it how he grew up. "You can adapt," he says. So I'm trying to plant the seed of the idea that you can also "adapt" to more....to joy, to love, to abundance.
He did not want to have the traditional medallion ceremony that CH gives the graduates. All the house comes together and passes around a token with a butterfly on one side and the Serenity Prayer on the other. Each person holds it and says what the graduate has meant to him or her or what he or she wishes for this person in their new life. L did not want this ceremony, he cannot tolerate that much good stuff at one time. But we sort of forced the issue and he came through beautifully, actually reading a poem he had a written to the group at the end. I cried, of course.
He and I reminisced at dinner last night. How he thought the jailers had the wrong guy when they came and told him he had a visitor the first time I came. And how worried he was when they transferred him to the other county because I wouldn't know where he went, and how totally amazed he was that I tracked him down. And how funny he thought it was that I didn't know anything about "real life" when it came to court and jail and he had to tell me the facts. Yeah. And I told him how absolutely weird it was that God kept telling me I had to go back to the jail and visit this guy after the Bible study, and when I didn't do it right away the first week, there was some serious insisting going on, and how that has never happened in my life before, where I have heard so clearly a direction from God to "Go, do." And he said, "Yeah, that's pretty cool I guess." And we talked about his Baptism on Sunday and that he might as well get used to the idea that I am going to cry because I have never baptised someone I love before and it ain't gonna be easy to read the prayers through the tears, but I have a feeling it's going to be the best thing ever!
So of course he spent the night. I "made" him sleep on the couch and not the floor. He had Maggie and cats for company. We got him to his ride on time, fortified with a cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich. He will be at this testing all day. Much, much hinges on all of this. I will be praying he can be calm and strong and true to the beautiful soul he is, and not get scared into....well just not get scared. I wonder where he will be sleeping tonight? Wherever it is, it's fine with me as long as he is safe.