Monday, December 31, 2012

Second Chances

This is something that's been stirring around in my brain for a while. Time for it to come out.

Ya'll remember my nephew, right? (short version - overdosed on drugs, almost died, medical miracle)

For more details read here & here for the short-story explanations.

Let me preface this by saying that I already said that I don't know why God spared him. And maybe more importantly, why God doesn't spare others. (crap, I swear I already blogged on this, but now I can't find the post. If I do, I'll insert it here).

Anyway, there are some things that happened surrounding my nephew's incident that left me (us) troubled.

Like... people from my sister's and BIL's church, which they were very active in, people they were close to, shunning them after they heard about their son's overdose.

Like... when I initially went forward at my church to pray for my nephew, and the "prayer partner" there stared at me and stumbled thru a prayer that seemed anything but sincere (thank God my pastor didn't act this way or I might not go there anymore).

Like... my nephew's doctors seeming to try to rush his parents into deciding to pull the plug. From the beginning I felt like he was getting less-than-stellar treatment because of why he was in that condition.

Like... other people. Random people. Friends reacting to the news of his condition with a well-he-did-it-to-himself laissez-faire attitude.

This all bothers me.

And not just because it's my nephew.

Did he make a mistake? Yes. A huge one. There's no denying that. He admits it himself.

Do we all make mistakes? Yes. Sometimes little ones. Sometimes big ones. But we all do.

Does he deserve to be dismissed, written-off, uncared for, left-to-die, because of his mistake? Does his family deserve to be shunned because of a mistake their son made?

Not unless we all deserve it too.

Everyone messes up. Some bigger than others. Or maybe it's that we all mess up the same, just in different ways. Some are obvious (ie. drug overdose that almost kills you), some are not so obvious (IDK... that's why they're not obvious, I suppose).

But the thing is that we all screw up at one time or another. We all do. And while I can't change how other people react to mistakes, I can do this:

I can not judge people by one mistake in their past.
I can not treat people differently because they made a mistake that I didn't make.
I can love everyone to the best of my ability.
I can show others the grace that I have been shown. Or that I wish I had been shown.
I can support people thru their mistakes, and thru the consequences of their actions, whether society judges them or not (because there are always consequences).

I can try to do all these things and more. Maybe I will succeed. Maybe sometimes I will slip. I am human after all. But I can try to make the world a better place, one second chance at a time.


For anyone who's interested, my nephew is doing well. To the best of our knowledge, including those who live with him, he has not taken any illegal substances since returning home. My understanding is that he is unable to work (ie. not released by his doctors to work), but is currently attending a local community college (I don't know why school is okay, but not work - ask his doctors). He really seems to be trying to make a better life for himself, and understands the gravity of what happened. As much as he can, since he doesn't remember any of it. His memory of the incident goes from feeling sick, then jumps to doing physical therapy in the hospital. Everything in-between is lost to brain damage. You can see a renewed interest in family, as he has attended more family functions in the past few months than he has in the past 2 years combined.

Physically / medically speaking, he is severely hard-of-hearing. He hates to admit it, but it's obvious that he's getting most of what is being said from reading lips. The hearing loss is considered permanent, and hearing aids do not help, as the loss is due to brain damage, not an ear problem.
His brain damage is still considered severe, and permanent. He has been warned that one head injury could kill him. So when he stumbled down some stairs and bumped his head, what would have been a no-biggie to the rest of us, landed him in the hospital for some testing (he's fine).

And... I think that's it. For now. As always, thanks for checking in.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Thank you for such a beautiful post. He is lucky to have people like you in his life. I'm sorry so many people are selfish and unkind. Mostly, they are probably just really sheltered and haven't experienced anything like this or they might have learned some kindness. When I hear someone has experienced a tragedy, the first prayer I usually offer is that they won't be too hurt by the stupid things people say. Because people do say some stupid things.

I'm glad your nephew is doing better and connecting more with family. I'm sorry for the trauma this has been for all of you and for him. What an incredibly difficult way to learn a lesson. I hope he continues to improve and people learn to be more kind. Just keep loving him.

Stopping by from SITS.

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