I felt compelled to publish the article “Oh Human Suffering” for today, I got notified that I had a comment and when I read it I cried. This person has made himself vulnerable by telling on himself. I asked his permission to print it here as it serves to warn us to be careful how we act and what we say in order to keep from having regrets. I know you will enjoy what he has to say. His blog is at https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com
When I was young, I bought and sold drugs. (Technically, it was not me SELLING them, but I played a key role.) And I have two shames in my life that I choke on to recall. The night I sold drugs to some young parents in front of their small children and the afternoon I murdered a woman in an empty lot for the amusement of my friends.
My memory is really old and fading now, but I have a short clip running in my mind. I can see me making introductions between my drug dealer and a young couple in their mid 20’s in the kitchen of their humble home. They had two small children, one still in diapers, I think, running around their knees as my dealer negotiated a deal. Suddenly the young father snaps at the children to leave the room because “Mom and Daddy are doing grown up stuff right now!”
That sentence pierces me even 25 years later. I confess it here (not the first or last time) and cringe as I look at my young self in that picture. I suddenly saw the range of damage I was doing to my community, to children, and to myself. I hated myself that night. And inside of another year, I put dope in my past and turned to LIVING my life rather than killing it.
Some will say I did not murder the woman, but I think I did. I cannot develop the whole story in a comment post, but suffice it to say, I was riding in the back seat of my best friend’s car one day after school circa springtime 1987. I was feeling like the third wheel suddenly, as we had picked up another friend who presented a threat to my social prestige. (Oh, my God. If I could have known then how little that would matter to me today!!!) And I saw what I thought was an opportunity to elevate my status there in the back seat by tearing down another person.
We were passing by an empty lot a couple of blocks away from a grocery store. With the window down, I could see a large woman walking through the lot caring all the groceries she could manage. It was obvious she did not have a car, and she appeared to be rather poor. And at 30 mph, I yelled out the window at her that she deserved to be poor and walk her groceries home because she was so fat and ugly that no one would love her. AND, btw, this is the sanitized version of that message!
With that, we were gone. Never to see her again. I have no idea what she did next. But I remember settling back in my seat as the car moved away and trying to relish the chuckle I barely managed to induce in my friends. They really were not so impressed. And really, I soaked in the evil that I had just spewed. I felt it. And as I put myself in her shoes, I thought I might go home and cut my wrists. The fact that I don’t really think she actually did, is actually a presumption I make to help myself feel better. For I don’t actually know that she did not. And if she did, then I am guilty of driving her over that edge.
I really do not think about my guilt every day. I have moved on. But I do pause to reflect on these two moments from time to time. They are two moments that I was at my lowest ever. They are not the only ones, but two of the more poignant among those that I regret and feel deep remorse about.
I hope that the broken life I gave to Jesus since then reflects his heart now. I sense it does. And I hope that the damage I have done (and sometimes continue to do) is healed by his love.