Troubles and Trials

When they released the recalcitrant brother from jail, it was both the climax of a long day involving travel, bank harrassing, money order buying, marriage suggesting, lawyer meeting, and fine paying and kind of anti-climactic.

He just walked through a door, slighly disheveled, five-days’ growth of beard, and shirt untucked, looking like himself, if slightly tired.  He saw us, came over, threw his arms around my dad’s neck, started to cry, and said, softly, “Thank you for coming.”

My first thought was that I was witnessing something holy, but then I thought, I don’t guess that this has much to do with god, because who knows if this is the right thing to do or the best course of action?

Who knows?

It didn’t feel holy.  It felt like a desperate old man holding onto a desperate young fool.

I’d like to tell you that my dad has hope that the recalcitrant brother will get on his feet or that he has faith that things will work out.

He does not.

There was nothing miraculous about that moment, nothing sacred.  It was like the opposite of sacred–not profane, but achingly ordinary.

It broke my heart. 

The recalcitrant brother swore that he will never go back to jail.


That’s what my dad lacks–belief.

And I suppose that’s what it takes to protect yourself in situations like this.

6 thoughts on “Troubles and Trials

  1. ‘gentle as the dove, but wise as the serpent’…It’s so hard, but I understand your dad on this very well.

    Hugs to you from right here in your home town!!

  2. I’ve had this experience, very similar to yours, but mine took place in a prison parking lot with my son. I tell people, you haven’t lived until you’ve stood with 20 strangers while you all wait for the bail bondsman to come and get your kids out of a house of correction. You’d think that the things going through your head might be profound and the moment holy, but in the end it’s just another day. I feel for you.

  3. Belief? In the face of the apparently repeated evidence, it sounds like your Dad is wising up. Now what? More of the same or is bro getting some help for whatever his problem is or . . . .


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