i was supposed to meet this woman at uptown at 10:30 who had also adopted from ethiopia and used the same agency as me. i really couldn't be late, despite my desire to run longer than a half hour.
i parked at mitchell park, threw tali in the stroller and headed up pismo st. i always go up pismo st, because the house my mom and i moved into after my parents divorce is on that street, and running in that neighborhood always brings back fond memories. i took a left on toro and vacillated for a minute as to whether or not i wanted to go up the secret little path behind scolari's. i decided yes at the last second and swung the stroller wide right and practically bumped into three super old people shuffling their way down the path. this is why i never go this way... for some reason there are always people on this obscure little path i thought to myself. i stopped the stroller and moved out of the way so they could pass and nodded politely to them. as they sloooowly made their way by, i looked over to the stairs at the back door of the grocery store a few feet up from me and saw 4 kids hanging out. typical slo high slackers i thought to myself as i picked up my momentum and made my way up the path. on a whim, i glanced the kids direction one last time. it took a few seconds for me to register what i saw. but as the path ended it became clear. the girl on the stairs was literally cutting a line with her atm card on what appeared to be a history book.
cutting a line. on the back steps of scolaris at 10 in the morning on a monday.
my heart started pounding. i stopped the stroller at the end of the path where i was out of sight from them. i couldn't even process what i was seeing. its not like i've never been around drugs, but there is something so caustic about snorting drugs. especially meth, which is likely what it was (and don't even get me started on that demonic drug-- seriously there is nothing romantic or fun about meth- it's literally death. you are literally snorting death).
the conversation in my head went a little like this... what do i do? what do i do? i should call the cops. yeah, totally. i'll just call the cops and they'll come deal with these kids and teach them a lesson. i can't do that. what am i gonna do, call 911 and say what? there's kids doing drugs behind scolari's? i should go talk to them. yeah, i really should. i can't do that! what am i going to say? i'm not a recovered drug addict or motivational speaker...they'll just think who does this crazy mom think she is? i have to go. i'm going. i'm gonna talk to them.
so i turned my stroller around and started walking back... i uttered a quick, 'lord please give me the words to say, cuz i have no idea what is going to come out of my mouth.'
i walk up and their stuff is put away, and they are just sitting there talking. when they see me, they shut up immediately. i notice there are two girls and two boys. the girl i saw cutting the line is sitting on the steps. there is a brown haired boy sitting behind her, and then a blond boy standing next to her. the other girl is leaning on the railing. i notice they are all well dressed, well groomed, attractive kids.
'guys, guys, seriously-- what are you doing?' i implore as i approach.
they all look down to the ground. no one will make eye contact with me, and no one says a word.
'listen, i'm not an idiot. i went to slo high, i cut class and went up to the old junior high and did stupid shit too. but seriously, the stuff you are messing with is not okay. its really not okay. on so many levels. that stuff will really, truly ruin your life. i can promise you that. i had friends that messed with it, and trust me the road back is long and hard.'
silence from all of them.
'hey!' i say to the girl on the steps. 'hey you, look at me.' she looks up as i pull back the shade on tali's stroller. they are literally at eye level. 'look in her eyes. look in my baby girl's eyes. you were once this little you know. you were once this little girl, and you have a mom and a dad who LOVE you. i mean, really, really LOVE you, and if they knew you were doing this, they would be heartbroken.'
she looks down to the ground, and doesn't say a word.
i press on, 'i want you to look at her. maybe you don't have a mom or a dad at home or whatever, i don't know your situation, but i can promise you wherever they are, there heart would literally break to know this is what you are doing. it would break their heart, i promise you that.'
she stares at the ground. its getting intense, when suddenly the tall blond boy next to her looks at me and says with definite attitude, 'okay. okay!'
i turn my attention from the girl to him and look him square in the eyes and say, 'hey, watch the attitude alright! listen, i'm not going to the call the cops. but seriously, you guys need to stop this. stop doing this and go back to school.'
with one last look at the girl on the steps i turn the stroller around and start running. when i'm safely out of eyesight i just start crying. i start thinking about my kids and its all to much. i start thinking about those kids, and their parents and i can't stop.
i don't know if those kids will ever think about what i said. and as hard as it was for me to muster up the courage to talk to them, i have zero regrets. sure i've thought and re-thought all the other things i could have, or should have said, but when it was all said and done, i felt like god had given me the words to get my point across.
that morning in the shower while i was praying for my day, i didn't pray for anything out of the ordinary... patience with the kids, energy to get my stuff done, grace for my husband. the thing is, we never know when god is going to put something like that in our path. i can't tell you how many times i wished i would have stepped out in faith when presented with a situation. you never know what god will use in people's life. chances are those kids just dismissed me as some whack job mom, but i feel confident and so thankful that god gave me the opportunity to love those kids and even more thankful that i was obedient to walk it out.
|maybe it is in these eyes...|