Make sure to read parts 1 & 2!
There aren’t many places to be alone in prison. It felt like everywhere I turned people were watching me. Surveillance cameras, guards, other inmates. Yet, even with all those people looking after me, I still felt isolated.
“Come near to God.”
How could I come near to God? Could He even want me? How could I move toward Him with so many aches and pains for a sip of booze? It seemed impossible to want Him and alcohol at the same time.
“He will come near to you.”
What would He want with me? Nobody wanted anything to do with me.
I managed to get myself from the chapel to my cell. My cot smelled. Every night I’d sweat through my clothes and sheets. My body was sending away the remainders of years worth of drinking.
“God.” It was the first time since I was 12 that I used His name for something other than cussing. “God, help.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I just repeated it over and over. Eventually, I fell asleep.
Dreams filled my mind. Bright colored, loud dreams.
Dreams of what was. What I left behind for the bottle.
Baking cookies with my grandma. Rolling down a hill with my sister. My mom singing lullabies as I drifted off.
Dreams of what never should have been.
My children, afraid of me. Their father walking out.
At some point in the dream I found a door. It led to a field. Jesus sat on a stump, children all around Him.
“Come near to God.”
I walked toward Him. Somehow I wasn’t afraid.
“He will draw near to you.”
Jesus smiled at me and called me over. By name. As I approached Him, He got up and embraced me.
I spent 10 years in prison. Good behavior got me out a year early. No one waited for me outside. It was something I knew I’d have to do alone.
All I had were some clothes that the State gave me; jeans, a t-shirt and shoes. They gave me a little money for the bus. I had the number for a half-way house in my pocket.
That number was just my back up plan. I was going home.
So, here I sit, drinking up the $10 bucks I have left after the bus. Coffee never tasted so good.
I’m free. I’m sober. I’m one mile from my mom’s apartment.
And now, everything’s coming to me about that night. The night of the wedding and the crash.
I just know that my family hasn’t forgiven me. Brody and Lydia were so little. They won’t remember me. And if they do, it won’t be a good thing. What am I thinking? I shouldn’t do this.
But I have to. At least to beg forgiveness.
I wrote a letter to read to them. “I know you don’t have to take me back into the family. I just want to let you know that I’m sorry. I’ve changed. But you don’t have to believe me. It’s enough that I could tell you.”
I get up, toss out my empty coffee cup, walk outside.
The mile long walk to the apartment feels so far. But every step gets me closer to whatever it is that God is calling me to.
As I get closer, the thought occurs to me that she might not live there anymore. I panic.
But I see her. She’s carrying a paper bag to the door. A man is with her. Who is that?
I’ve never wanted to run so badly in my whole life. I just can’t decide if I should run to her or away.
“Jesus,” I pray. “I need strength.”
She turns around and I know she sees me because she stops and her face changes. She drops the bag. The man stoops to pick everything up. My mom is already on her way to me. Before I know it, she’s got me. She’s holding me.
“Mom,” I say.
“You’re home,” she cries.
“Is everything okay?” the man says, coming close to us.
“Yes, everything’s great.” My mom pulls his arm. “Brody, your mom’s home.”
I feel so small, so weak. My little boy stands in front of me, taller than me. With the most beautiful smile on his face.
“I know that I hurt you,” I begin my apology. ” And you don’t have to forgive me.”
My son puts his arm around my shoulders.
“But I’ve changed. I haven’t had a drink in 10 years. You don’t have to take me back into the family. I just needed you to know that I am sorry.”
“Can you come in?” My mom holds my hand. “Have a cup of coffee?”
“Sure. I’d like that.”
“Brody, let’s get everybody over. We’ll get pizzas and just celebrate.” She smiles at me. “My family is back together.”
All I can feel is the love that God has given to me. Love from Him. Love that He gave my family.
Come near to God and He will come near to you.