8.27.2007

A Chance for the Chancers

Several years ago, I rented a room from Bekah's aunt; her aunt shared her four and a half bedroom house with eight of guys. Most of us guys were musicians, and the house had become a place to hang out for many people.

She also owned a second house, where Bekah lived, that was home to a handful of girls. The residents of both houses were there for various reasons, some battled addictions, others were trying to start a new life, but all of us needed a cheap place to stay.

The doors to the guys house was a revolving door for a colorful cast of characters, and that motley crew was most evident on Friday nights when we would meet for an often crowded Bible study. Drew led the worship, and over the course of a few months became one of the best friends I've ever had. Tommy sang and played various instruments in a band; I helped promote them, but was more or less an over-glorified roadie. Terry was an ex-drug dealer and ex-husband who had left his old life and moved half-way across the state to clean up and start over. There was a skater kid who was still in high-school; his mom couldn't handle him so she insisted that he lived with us as long as he went to church and stayed in school. One of the guys was a pro-skater, another a youth pastor. One time a homeless guy showed up to have a sandwich.

Then there was Nicole. She showed up every Friday night, tired from a full day of skating. She often slept through the Bible study, but would hang out after the study to chat and relax. For her, our house was a safe environment. We all knew she had issues, but knew little about the specifics. She didn't live in the girls house, but she hung out with us. She didn't really believe in God, but she listened when we talked about our faith. During the Bible study she usually sat on the couch closest to who ever was speaking. But one night she sat in the back of the room. Terry noticed something was wrong and he stepped out of the group; Terry, Nicole, and Bekah's aunt disappeared into one of the bedrooms.

Our study continued as usual. Afterwards, a few people lingered; joking around, playing the guitar, or skating outside. The late night after Bible study was a social time were we were known to stay up late into the next morning singing and making music, or engaged in deep philosophical conversations. But that night, I think most people realized that something was out of the ordinary.

At some point, Bekah went into the room were Terry had taken Nicole. Most people went home. Finally Drew and I were the only two left in the living room. Terry came out and explained what was going on. Nicole had a drug problem. Sometime earlier that day, Nicole had hit bottom and decided it was time to quit the drugs, and she decided to go cold turkey. Terry recognized her tremors the instant she came in. She was experiencing hyperflexia and had severe cramping in her limbs. Bekah and her aunt were massaging Nicole's arms and legs to relieve tension. Terry was trying to keep her body temperature up with warm rags. He was talking her through the DTs, keeping her as calm as possible to avoid panic attacks, and making her eat bananas to give her some source of nutrients.

Drew and I did as much as we could to help, but there wasn't much else that we could do. So, being musicians we did the only thing we knew how: we picked up our guitars and began to play. Earlier that night, I showed Drew how to play Dave Matthews Crash. Drew started with that song to make sure he could play it as I sang along. At the end of the song, he played the opening riff to Poor Old Lu's Chance for the Chancers, I played along. What caused Drew to play that song, I don't know. But it was the right song choice. We both sang at the top of our lungs the first few words to the song: "EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE OK!"

Laughter erupted in the bedroom next door. On the worst night of her life, Nicole needed to hear that everything was going to be OK. We continued to sing. "He's going to wipe those tears away - And before this night is through - This is all going to make sense to you." Nicole has cleaned up, and stayed clean since then.

That's what we all needed to hear. That things were going to be OK. That things would make sense. That all things work together for the good (Rom 8:28).

Which brings me to tonight. After an emotionally difficult day for our family, Bekah and I again needed those same reminders. As we transferred sleeping children from Grandma's house to our car, then from the car into their beds, I was searching for the right words to say. I carried Christian into the house as Bekah was running some bath water.

"Are you ready to lay down in your bed, big guy?" I asked.

"Yeah." He replies. "I hang onto daddy."

"That's right, but it's time for you to go back to sleep." He rubs his forehead on my shoulder and Bekah stepped out of the bathroom to say good night. Whispering in his ear, told him what to say.

"Good night Mommy." He followed my prompt.

"Good night, I love you." Bekah gave Christian a kiss and turned back into the bathroom.

Reminded of the song, I had one more message for Christian to give. "Momma, everything is gonna be OK."

Bekah smiled and choked back tears; I knew that I had chosen the right thing to say - and the right messenger to speak for me. And seeing Bekah's smile, I knew everything would be OK.

3 comments:

  1. Done deal. Email me when you get a chance. Let me know what to pray for.

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  2. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Nic, our family feels it is a privilege to pray for your family. We have been praying for you ever since you were a teenager! Love your famiy lots, M. I.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Hey let Milton and I know if there is anything specfic we should pray about.
    Love the Grambo's

    ReplyDelete