Saturday, October 13, 2007

Enter Erik The Fresh

Admittedly, Amy and I needed a break when it came to our "Upper Room Ministry" after Shell happened and especially after "all Shell broke loose."

Thao is still living here, and we'd adopt her if she'd let us, but she's got an adventurous soul. We might have convinced her to stick around a little longer, but I suspect the wanderlust of a soon to be 23 year old whose desire is to explore the world may win out over our selfishness. We'll love seeing her soar into a new season if and when that time comes...but we'll pray she always remembers that she has "family" here.

No matter what, we have unused space and soon some of that room is going to be occupied by a young man named Erik, with whom we've been talking for several weeks. Erik has been through a lot, much of which parallels struggles I have faced. He hit rock bottom in California, and then got up and got out, but his demons are far from conquered. In truth, they're still nipping very close to his heels and he knows it.

Erik is 28...but due to tragic circumstances he was essentially left to find his way alone in the world at 18 and like many people, myself included, took refuge in some dark but easy to find places...for too long. I don't think it would be unfair to say that his life "stalled out" and then sank.

He's not going to be low maintenance...he's broke, unemployed, has no car, no driver's license - in fact I'm now thinking he may not know how to drive.

On the upside...he does have a puppy...a pit bull.

I met with Erik this morning to get him to a job interview. We did a little makeover on the way with stops at Goodwill, Amy's ironing board, and my clothes closet. He looked quite respectable by the time I dropped him off and Monday he'll find out if he got the job.

If not, there are other jobs...and there's plenty he can work on (including our yard if need be - he's a big guy with a back that doesn't ache) until the right opportunity arrives. Amy and I have bounced around some other possibilities we may explore with friends and neighbors, especially until I can teach him to drive and he gets a license.

There's no questioning the fact that with Erik we're stepping out of the boat. He is genuinely in need of stability which is what Amy and I have vowed to God we would try to provide to people truly in need. However, although our desire is to give such folks a foundation upon which they can rebuild their lives, we also have learned - sometimes the hard way - that we can become enablers far more easily than saviors if we're not careful to draw boundaries.

We also know we can't "fix" people. That's up to them...and God.

Erik needs a fresh start, so on Monday or Tuesday I'll "help him move" when I get off work. Before dropping him off today I asked how much "stuff" he needed to move and he said, "Well I left the clothes you bought at your house, me, my backpack...and a puppy"

Can't get much fresher than that...

I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. - 2 John 1:5