By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer
I know a man — we will call him Michael — who is at war with the world. Michael’s night job is drinking. He has been an alcoholic off and on the last several years. His father left when he was young, and his present parents ignore and blame him for every possible flaw. His best friends tease him into one-night stands. Michael finds his temporary fix on the basketball court or soccer field. “Fulfillment” never looked so broken.
Why is it that things are fixed only after they are broken, but never stopped from breaking?
Somewhere, a step must have been missed.
Michael is a composite of stories I have heard over the years, but the image is no less desperate than the realities.
“Fixes” cannot start when a student is already broken to the point of suicide. An alcoholic cannot find fulfillment in tossing the bottle.
To prevent the gut-wrenching places in life we so often find ourselves or the ones we love, proactive steps must be taken.
We are not so much in need of programs, but in need of more relational care, attention and intentional, long-term discipleship. A youth in a gang-infested environment actually stands a chance against the turmoil around him when someone dares to stand with him.
The roots of the problem arise from lives void of relationships, discipleship and mentoring. These relationship-oriented words are far from flighty concepts. They demand dedication, consistency and often a lifelong commitment.
Programs, although necessary to stem the flow of pain once it begins, can become too caught up in the temporary. Those temporary solutions are needed, but only hand-in-hand with long-term development.
Someone once told me that both emergency room doctors and family physicians are necessary to keep a body healthy and prosperous. ER doctors keep a soul from perishing in dire situations, but a physician can keep that soul from coming to the point of needing a trip to the emergency room.
Beginning with our own families, friends and the young people close to us, we can begin to address the problem. Every human is designed to be known and loved. To introduce this type of love early can change a downward-sloping path.
All the “Michaels” I have met consistently come back to one point of pain: Abandonment by a parent, friend or love.
It is this cycle of pain that can be prevented or broken. Remain constant, dedicated, steadfast and determined in your walk with those you love. Step out beyond your comfort zone to influence the lives of those you meet.
This is the ultimate problem solver of our generation, life and world.
The solution is to take the overflowing of comfort we have received and pass it to others every day, every moment and every breath.