(Continued from 3 AM Deliberations Part I)
We don't know how the kid ended up out back. We were the last home at the end of a private drive, where no one else lives in the dead of winter. And there was snow, and there was ice. With the conditions as such, it wasn't safe for even sober people to drive. The 20 year old kid, who claimed to be from Jackson, would put his life in danger if he tried to leave in his state of intoxication.
So we deliberated around the dining room table.
Can't we just take away his keys until he sobers up?
But then, what if he freezes or goes into hypothermic shock?
Or what if he's so messed up he dies from an overdose?
(The guys had assessed it was probably more than alcohol.)
Or what if he takes off and wraps his car around a tree?
(One of the neighbor boys did this recently without drinking.)
Or worse, what if he hits another car, kills himself and somebody else out on the road?
There were A LOT of what ifs.
"Hey guys, he moved his car." One of the guys had taken a peak outside the kitchen window, updating us on kid's status. "Ah! He's stuck in the snow. And the front of the car is wrapped up the bushes."
"Guys, I really think we should call the cops." The voice of wisdom persisted.
I've worked with youth for over a dozen years. I understood the reasoning in wanting to call the cops, but this could be any one of my youth kids doing something stupid. I was tempted to pull for this kid I didn't know - to save him from a DUI. But I also considered a consequence as such could be the very wake up call this kid needed to help him start making smarter decisions with his life.
"You know, it could be pretty darn entertaining to have the cops show up." One of the guys pointed out. Suddenly the group was swayed and a call to the local authorities was made.
The others headed out back, but I lingered inside - still thinking about the dead body outside the window.
News write ups say the girl had blogged openly about her partying. Sometimes she'd throw some pills into the mix; sometimes she wouldn't. The drugs were legal - her antidepressant medication. According to her blog, partying is what brought her life, but, sadly, in the end, it brought her death.
Before moving to the city, she referenced a Kurt Vonnegut quote on her blog. "I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over," she wrote. "Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center."
A Starbucks barista once told me, "Something about your presence tells me you kick *ss. I can tell by your aura you have a strong center." And a guy I danced with at a wedding once told me, "You have good balance." I'm all for living an adventuresome life, but without a strong center, and without good balance, life on the "edge" can be toxic. I suppose that's why I've stuck with Jesus all these years; I'm convinced there is something to him and the way he loved people that is life-giving.
A cop eventually showed up to take the kid away. And a tow truck showed up to take away his car. I don't know what happened to the 20 year old drunk kid after that evening, but I'm rather confident he is still alive and looking out windows rather than lying dead outside of one. And with that, although not an easy call to make, I'm convinced we made the right call for him and his life on that February night. Thank you wisdom for your insistence.
* A note on this post... the guy from down the shore recently informed he had started reading my blog. He wanted to know why my initial write up of this February weekend included nothing about the drunk kid and the cop. Here's the link to that weekend in case you missed it: Fire On Ice
I explained to him I had intended to connect the drunk kid story to the beginning of the post - where the cops take away the guy on the airplane. But my entry got too long and I had to cut it off. I told the guy from down the shore I had another idea for the drunk kid segment, and perhaps I'd still write on it. But the more I tried to frame it funny, the more I realized I couldn't. Drunk kids are too personal of a subject matter for me - they've been my life and line of work for years. I even orchestrated an intervention once, and I'm not even "qualified" to do that - but in doing so, I helped save a girl from her own self-destruction. So, to guy from down the shore, and to the others, I'm sorry I couldn't complete my assignment as hoped, but do know, I too couldn't help but smirk by cop's instructions during the breathalyzer test.