Ed's oldest son, my stepson...Eddie....is clean. Let me explain a little. He came to live with us when he was sixteen. We had only been married for 4 months, lived in a tiny furnished apartment and were expecting our first baby in 7 months. It was a very trying time. Eddie's mother had kicked him out of her house and dumped him on our doorstep. He was a handful. A delinquent druggy. And yet, deep inside, a good kid. The only place we had for him to sleep was on the sofa. And so it went. Our privacy was gone. It was difficult.
Through the years, Eddie has had very short-lived times of being clean. He has entered this program and that program, but never sticking with it. In jail. On probation. Eluding the police. In prison. But something happened this time. He is 38. It was either do this program to completion or spend 30 months in prison without parole. He has three children by three different women. He lost contact with them through the years because of non-support and his lifestyle of drugs.
Two weeks ago, we received a phone call from him. He had just completed...COMPLETED....a nine-month stint in a prison rehab/bootcamp. And he is clean. And changed. I mean, really changed. I've never seen him like this in 22 years. He's apologized to us profusely for the hurt he has caused over the years. Part of his rehab has been to start building the bridges of contact with his children. He began writing to them while in prison. He has spent time with his youngest son, going to his ballgames this past weekend. Yesterday, Memorial Day, he spent the day with his daughter who is his oldest child. He has not seen her since she was a baby. She is now 17. We met her and her mother yesterday. She is such a lovely young lady. She graduates high school next year and plans to pursue a career in nursing. Eddie is still patiently communicating with his oldest son. There have been replies and we are praying for good things to happen. You see, Eddie has never paid child support and does not have the finances yet to do so. So it will be out the goodness and compassion of these mothers' hearts if he is to have a part in his children's lives at this point.
Daniel is so excited about having his "big brother" in his life. They spent last weekend together. Eddie went to church with Daniel and Erin. A bunch of the guys played ball later that afternoon. They had a weiner roast. Eddie asked Daniel how he could want anything to do with him after the life he has lived and Daniel simply told him, "You're my brother and I love you." That just says it all, hm? *tears*
As I type this, Eddie is outside on our roof with Ed, Bro. Lew Dunnells (Daniel's father-in-law, who pastors in Nelsonville), and another man from the Nelsonville church. They are putting the new roof on this week. Now, I ask you, could this boy (Eddie) be in any better company? *smile* Eddie was baptized in Jesus' Name as a child and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He knows this wonderful pentecostal way. He says the Lord helped him through these past months and that the Lord is helping him restore his relationship with his children. And indeed He is. We are praying that he commits his life to God completely again.
Ed and I can only shake our heads, shed tears, and thank the Lord for the miraculous work He is doing in Eddie's life. And for the grandchildren we are meeting and getting to know for the first time. It is never too late. We must never give up on our loved ones and friends and neighbors. The Lord does hear our prayers and see the tears that we shed. He is so faithful and just and merciful.
We've shared more hugs and I love yous with this boy in the past week! *smile* He has come home.