One Decision

casa_v_master_redblueI’ve been home for several weeks this summer following back surgery.  Although the surgery was a success, recovery isn’t easy or fun; I feel like I’ve aged a hundred years.  Taking a shower uses all the energy I can muster.  My left leg and foot are numb. I can’t lie on my back because of my slow-to-heal incision.  Because my left hip hurts from the bone graft, I can only sleep on my right side, and now my right shoulder aches.  My skin is hypersensitive, I walk as if in slow motion, and by early evening, I am cranky and out of sorts.

Tonight was no exception.  I had gone to a home visit for my *CASA volunteer work, and returned home very sore and very tired. I love this work, but most of the situations surrounding abused and neglected children are heartbreaking.  Someone is always sad. A parent may lose his child.  A child may be taken from her mother.  There is often violence.  There is often addiction. There are always tears.  And some nights, especially when I am tired, they are mine.

Exhausted and discouraged, I took a shower, put on my pajamas and settled into my recliner to relax in front of the TV set.  When the phone rang at seven o’clock, I thought the caller would be one of my daughters checking up on me. I was surprised to hear a male voice on the other end.

“This is John calling about the problem with Windows on your computer.” scams_exposed_scammer419

I have received these calls before.  I know they are a scam, meant to glean information, and I usually just disconnect the call.  But tonight was different.  Perhaps it is because I have seen the confusion in my CASA children’s eyes when their mommy doesn’t show up for a planned visit.  Perhaps it is because a four-year-old worries about her sister’s safety instead of thinking about what Disney princess she likes the best.  Perhaps it is the hopelessness I see when a parent faces a judge. Perhaps it is that the line of addiction is invisible and nobody sees it until he’s past it, and then it’s too late.  Perhaps it is knowledge that at one point or another, we are all just one bad decision away from disaster, and that sometimes it is only by the grace of God that we choose well.

Or perhaps it is because no matter how tired, no matter how sore, no matter how discouraged, I have this unceasing drive to make things better. For whatever reason, I was going to take a different approach this time.
“John,” I asked, “Does your mother know what you do for a living?  Does she know that you have a job doing something that is illegal and unethical? ”

“Uh…no ma’am…uh…I mean….”

“How does she feel about that?  Because John, I’m a mother and if my son were doing this kind of work I’d be crying myself to sleep every night.”

I could hear John breathing but he said nothing.

“I’m going to hang up now, but John, you might want to think a little about this.”

Now perhaps John (if that is his real name) doesn’t care a bit about what I said.  Perhaps he just merrily dialed another number in hopes of scamming the next customer.

But maybe…just maybe, he’ll think about the man he is, and the man he wants to be, and the man his mother wanted him to be.  Because sometimes it is just one decision.

*If you want to know more about Court Appointed Special Advocates, message me, or look up your state’s CASA website.  I guarantee, it’ll change your life.

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4 Comments

  1. Jodi Stewart

     /  July 8, 2015

    Love it! I want to try that on the next “John” who calls me. Keep up the great work with CASA. Inspiring! Heal soon my friend.

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    • Garrie Madison Stoutimore

       /  July 9, 2015

      Thanks Jodi. I’ll be back in full force soon.

      Like

      Reply
  2. Beth Shulson

     /  July 22, 2015

    Garrie, I love this post and many of your past posts. You inspire me to explore volunteer opportunities with CASA. Hope you continue to mend. Beth

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    Reply
    • Garrie Madison Stoutimore

       /  July 22, 2015

      How nice to hear from you, Beth! Hope you are well and happy.
      garrie

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      Reply

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