An Old Friend Who Took The Wrong Path

Image by Annie Spratt from Pixabay

One day I came out of a Church car park and as I pulled out he came walking down the footpath. He didn’t see me but I saw him. I wanted to call him into the car but for some reason I didn’t bother. Have you ever come across those who had a really bad start in life and it snowballed into nothing but disaster from there?

Then I arrived at my parents house who said, “Peter came knocking. He knocked three times today but we didn’t answer. He’s in town again, what are you going to do?” The way they were talking you’d swear they were talking about Michael Myers from the movie Halloween. Then again, this old flame would make that character look like a Saint.

I said, “oh. . . I just saw him. I wanted to invite him into the car but for some reason I couldn’t do it.” My parents said, “Don’t go near him Stephen. . . you know not to.” I have a hard time letting go of him and simply ignoring him. I love him too much. I have this lovely image of us as children in our Pyjama’s playing the very first Nintendo console. I remember the days when we used to listen to 90s rave and he’d collect me at school and get me out of it for a free day of fun.

It all started with small robberies, then drugs, then it spiraled out of control and ended up becoming years of in and out of prison. I loved him then, and I still love him now. Some of us robbed and did drugs when we were young, but sadly for many they’d a hard time growing out of it. With little education and prospect of ever bettering oneself in the hostile environment we were born into, a life of crime wasn’t easily avoided.

Now I’m driving down the road again a day later. I’ve got my wife and kids in the car. I’m supposed to take a turn into my mothers but missed the turn talking to my wife about Orthodoxy. I realize this and decide to use the roundabout to turn around. That’s when he appeared from an alleyway and began walking down the path. He looked directly at my wife and I could see he was high as a kite. My wife without realizing who it is said, “Oh that man looks scary”. I then told her who he was.

“That’s him?” She asked. “He’s scary looking”. He did. . . he looked completely different from the child I grew up with and loved so much. His face was grey and he’d looked as if death was going to take him at any moment. My heart went out to him and again I wanted to stop, get of the car and just hug him but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I don’t believe my elderly parents have any reason to fear him but I took it as a sign I was meant to miss the turn. I explained to them that he’s in the area again. I had to respect their fears so made the phone-call.

I came across another old flame while in the big city. I couldn’t believe it was him. Along he came high on drugs and in a daze as he walked by. I said, hello Joseph, (not his real name). He turned around and was so high could not see who I was. “Who am I talking to?” he asked. “It’s me, Stephen….” I shouted back. “Ah, my family, my Stephen” he responded. “I hope you’re well” and then he walked on stumbling here nor there into the city dissolving into the distance.

I loved him too and remember our days spent together as children also. I had met both these people in such a short space of time that it was no coincidence. I feel lost myself though as to what to do with them. I’ve no idea how I can be of help. I feel helpless. How do you save someone from themselves? It’s so difficult.

I often say to the Lord, “Why did you approach me and not them? Why me? Why is it I got picked from the crowd and not these as well?” I’ve no answer to this and must accept the nature of the Will of God and that of the free will of man. It’s not easy.

I ask you to pray for both of these men. They may not look like much to society, but to me I see who they really are. I love them so much.

One thought on “An Old Friend Who Took The Wrong Path

  1. I will pray for your friends.
    I struggle with exactly the same issue : ‘why does God give the gift of faith to some, and not others ?
    But, as you say, human will is always involved. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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