Saturday, August 15, 2009

Savior Complex

These past few days have been a whirlwind.

At night Henry shows up at my door to say hi. He attempted to get his wife to let him back in, it aint happening, no place to live. So he asks me to drive him to St. Mary's on Division so he could spend some time in the hospital, they'll take care of him. Two hours later, he shows up again, no place to live, doesn't want to live on the street, so I decide to let him sleep in the basement guest room. I told him he could leave out the back door so he could find arrangements for shelter the next day.

Come home from Men's Group. Eat breakfast with Katie and kids, go down to pick up laundry. Smells like freshly taken shower. Henry says he had the best sleep in a long time, and that he cleaned up. Wants to know what I am doing today, I tell him I have to go to Higgins, my rental building, and do some work, he asks if he could tag along. I agree, with some trepadation, I was supposed to work with my dad, you see mixing my two worlds can be problematic at times, hard to explain, but just to say my dad likes to work alone, and having Henry in the mix could create situations where I have to negotiate around.

Everything went fine. My dad worked alone mostly, Henry tried to bum a cigarette off my dad, he said no. Awkward situation. I tell my dad Hector is without a place to live. My dad feels bad, offers a smoke to Henry. They both smoke inside the building. I kick them out. They come back, I offer my dad the opportunity for me to buy him materials while he stays back to work, alone, he agrees but tells me to take Henry he doesnt want to babysit him. I shusk him, but oblige.
Hector and I go to Russo Hardware get everything we need in one shot. Come back, my dad wants lunch so he leaves. We work on fixing doorknobs, dad comes back, we leave. Decide to drive to IKEA and get lunch in Schaumburg. Hector has never been to Schaumburg. Likes IKEA, likens it to a fancy Cook Bros. ( Ghetto Costco). We leave, go to Portillos, see a lady taking wads of cash and a portible credit card machine, Henry is impressed, creates an imaginary scenario of the lady being in the city, getting stuck, and someone taking the cash and machine. Get back on expressway, listen to a CD of indie music, Henry says he'sfalling to sleep and needs something he can wake up to. Put in a Pearl Jam CD and karaoke Alive, Jeremy, Evenflow, while driving and eating an Italian Beef sandwhich. Take I-294 to I-290, get off at Independance Blvd. Go past Garfield Park, and end up at Breakthrough Urban Ministries. Got a tip last night that there were 30 beds available. Uh,oh I thought you can get a bed just like that... no it is a 2-3 week process to even get considered. Well, Hector might have to go to Pacific Garden Mission in Podunk, southside Chicago somewhere.

I take Henry to the house to have Katie help me figure out where to take him. The process was maddening. Calling SRO's, local community organizations, the YMCA, shelters. Nothing can be offered to Henry immidiately. He is essentially on the street til he goes through the interview process for any inteim housing organization. While I am stressing, Katie and Henry are playing with my kids and keeping them occupied. I finally ask him to leave the house and come back at 6 so that I could problem solve. We finally get a lead with a group called LUCHA, but they will call with further info tomorrow. Then we realize that Henry has one more option and maybe he would be ready to enter a 1 year intensive program for drug addiction called Teen Challenge, it would meet his need for housing, food, and medical as well as building him up emotionally, physically, mentally, and spritually. We propose it to him, he agrees, does a phone interview, and qualified, and they had room, if he was serious. He said he was. We put him up for the night at the fleabag hotel and would go together to Teen Challenge tomorrow.

Hector arrives at 8am, we call Teen Challenge, they say he needs 7-8 days of clothes, Collared shirts for classes, dress shirts and tie for Church. I let Henry have a couple shirts and a tie and give him a couple bucks to by dress pants and shoes at the Salvation Army. I tell him to come back at 12 and we'll leave. He does, we go to Walgrees for some toiletries, then McDonalds for his last meal before he leaves for 1 year. We pray, then he enters the building.I read the rules and the expectations of the program to Henry. The program is very structured, its going to be hard, we both acknowledge that. 4 months at the dormitory and 8 months in Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, or Pennsylvania where he will be taught how to read and write, get his GED, and improve jobs skills. I am so excited for Hector. He seems to be excited at the prospect of reading a newspaper for the first time. I pay for the program, norefundable if Henry leaves. They assure me that most stick the program out. Henry seems worried, but he says he need to do this for himself, he's tired of living this life. He asks me to pray for him every night, I agree.

I know that this will be the program that gets Henry clean for good and on a path of realizing the person whom God created him to be.

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