I’m angry. I'm here hold my beer kind of angry. And before anyone gets hinky because I used that term, don’t go there. I already told you I was angry. I don’t think here hold my Diet Dr. Pepper conveys the anger boiling inside of me.
In ten days I’ve read the obituaries of high school football stars, cheerleaders and honor students that were all dead by 23. WHAT. HAPPENED?! Based on their high school accomplishments they should have been graduating college and starting their lives! How do they go from honor graduates to dead by overdose?!
In ten days, I’ve heard the stories of two men who were by all accounts doting fathers that left their sons to find them dead. How do they go from doting fathers to corpses in front of their children?
In ten days, I’ve read posts and comments of mothers and wives that cannot make sense of the life they are living and who they are now. How do they go from being surrounded by “friends' ' to crying out to people they’ve never met, but feel more connected to than the people they once did life with.
In ten days I’ve learned the overwhelming statistics of children in foster care because of addiction. How did they go from learning to walk to living in a strangers house?!
In ten days I’ve learned that enough Fentanyl to kill 10 million people was intercepted, but that was actually the SECOND run of that size. How do we celebrate 10 million lives saved when there are 10 million lives at risk.
In ten days I’ve learned that grief isn’t always tears and sorrow. Sometimes grief manifests itself and rears its ugly head in the form of anger. A deep anger that resides in the same spot that a special love does. They co-exist. The love is still there, but because it was meant to be expressed to someone that can no longer receive it, it evolves. It never becomes dormant. It never ceases. Love is the strongest emotion and the most powerful weapon. It has a voice. It has a purpose.
My love for my son, who can no longer receive it continually grows. Every time I think of him, it grows. When his brother laughs, it grows. When I feel his son thump my daughter-in-loves stomach it grows. When I see the impact his story has had, it grows. But what I’m learning is every time I’m contacted about another young person's death, the anger grows with it. When I hear of another child orphaned, the anger grows with it. When I search for words to comfort a grieving mother, the anger grows with it.
It’s an upside down world where parents outliving their children is becoming the norm, so I guess in that sense it’s perfectly normal that love and anger walk hand in hand in me. It’s the love that I have for my son that is no longer here that fuels the anger - the steering wheel pounding anger - the I’m so sick of this anger - the I’m just getting started anger.
I cannot single handedly remove every illicit drug on the planet. I cannot go door to door begging parents to check and double check and then check again. I cannot give every narrow minded junky hater a good talking to. Or kick them. Tonight that would feel really good. But that’s the me in me. Not the Jesus in me.
The Jesus in me is ok with the anger, because He’s not happy about any of this. What He needs is more of us waking the love-anger line to stand up, speak up and love in His name. In His way. In the open arms, compassionate, caring, concerned love your neighbor way. He needs it, the addicts need it, their families need it and their children need it. We have to stop looking the other way while we point a finger. One day, that finger may very well be pointing right back at you because it’s your honor student that doesn’t make it to 23.