Friday, February 5, 2010

Life in the Margins

As I have posted before, I run a rooming house in Texas. It is not in the best neighborhood, but not in the worst.
I try to help, but the people here are *in the margins* of our society and some don't know how to accept help and build on it to better themselves..

Settle yourselves in, children and let me tell you the story of *Amy* (names changed to protect the guilty and innocent in this tale)...

Amy was 24 and had just been released from a drug rehab halfway house run by the Dept. of Corrections. She also had served time in prison for drug convictions.
She did her time, did her rehab and found her way to the door of this rooming house.
Amy had a job, working at a fast food sandwich shop. She had lived here only a month when she became manager of the shop! She attended her NA meetings, fixed up her room, went to work and was a very ambitious and optimistic young lady.
I could see great things in her future--if she continued on this course.
Two months after Amy moved in, she got a call from *Don*, a young black man who had been in the same rehab halfway house. (Amy was white, btw.)
Don's history was similar to Amy's. He had the additional burden of returning to a home where drugs were used daily by siblings and other relatives. He called Amy to ask if he could visit for the weekend "just to get away from this shit".
Amy allowed him to come and visit, and nature took it's course and they began a relationship. Don went to work at the same place Amy managed.
And Don took those 2 steps forward and then slipped about 5 steps back.
Within 6 months he got fired from his job, got Amy fired from her job, stole her money, stole her car and got it impounded--twice.
She moved out one of the better ones I have here into one of the worst for the cheaper rent. She now worked at a cheaper fast food place at minimum wage. Don...worked when he was not high.
I told Amy; "Look, Don has to go, he cannot be on the property. If you don't kick him out, I will evict you."
She agreed.
Don disappeared ........for about a week.
Amy begged and pleaded for Don to be allowed to stay. I finally agreed under the condition that Don get a job and did not use drugs.
That lasted...exactly 18 days.
Don left, followed in a few days by Amy.

Don was arrested 3 days after he left for theft.
Amy violated her probation and last I heard was still a scant half step ahead of the warrant out for her arrest.
I cleaned out her room and rented it out.
Her bagged up few possession, now sitting in the tool shed are a visual reminder of how a life in the margins can play out.
She was a reasonably intelligent young lady, came out of rehab with her act together and was determined to succeed.
All of her hard work, ambition and determination sapped away when she engaged in a relationship with someone who did not have their act together.
Life in the margins is tough...sad how some people make it tougher for themselves and others...

1 comment:

  1. Sad but know first hand, my brother is a crack addict, been in and our of rehab and is still using*sigh* It's been very hard on my parents and most likely one day we'll get a call saying he is dead. Makes on wonder how two children can be raised the same way and yet be so totally opposite in their life journey. Not that I am perfect by any means or patting myself on the back, but my Dh and I 100% debt free, have a small homestead and are 85% sufficient, don't rely on the government for anything.
    Sorry to hear this yound lady made the choices she made, we can pray she learns from it.