Happy Endings

I saw Mike again this morning.

It’s been probably six months since he arrived at the Rescue Mission to begin a year-long residential recovery program for drug and alcohol addicted men.  He only lasted a couple of weeks there.  I had asked them to consider him, and while my request probably didn’t amount to much, I felt bad for recommending someone that wouldn’t complete the program.

I had hopes for a happy ending for Mike.  I had hopes that he and I could continue to grow together in the faith someplace other than jail.  I had hoped that despite a lifetime of drug addiction he could enter the Rescue Mission and receive the help he talked about wanting.  I had hopes that he could graduate clean and stay clean.

My happy endings are rather high bars, but I’m learning to lower them.

It’s that I’ve changed my mind about what would justly constitute a truly happy ending, or that I’ve accepted a life of addiction as somehow acceptable or desirable for anyone.  I haven’t gone soft on what ought to be, but perhaps I’m learning to look for the silver linings more in the storm clouds.   I realize that not everyone is going to have the happy ending I wish they would.

So it was a happy thing to see Mike this morning in jail.  Not at church, not at the Rescue Mission.  But at jail.  It meant that he’s safe for the moment.  He’s in familiar territory, a place that he knows very well.  Those are good things.  It means he’s not on the streets.  Not cold.  Not strung out.  Not vulnerable to a bad batch of dope or the transient cruelty of other street people or the random pedestrian or driver.

I know Mike will get his happy ending someday.  I know we’ll see each other in a better place through faith in Jesus Christ.  But for now I’ll content myself with this passing happy ending.  He’s safe today.  We could pray together today.

And for Mike, maybe that’s enough to be thankful for right there.

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