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Upset that he had lost his job, M started spending a lot of time upstairs in the bedroom. He played video games until it made him physically ill. He would refuse to come down for dinner claiming he was going to just lie down until his head stopped hurting. Then he would drag E out of bed in the middle of the night to help him cook. Because he was still recovering from the concussion, we let it go.

He stopped taking his turn with household chores and started leaving dirty dishes in his room. He seemed resentful that B wasn’t there as much as he had been during the summer. B needed to go to work, go to school and keep his other commitments. He tried to intentionally make time with M but the harder he tried, the more disdainful and criticical M became.

I was concerned, not entirely convinced that M’s behavior was simply the result of his head injury. B also started to wonder. He asked me if I thought he had made a mistake. This whole situation did not appear to be working anymore. Had he misunderstood what God has wanted him to do? It seemed like our effort to help M up had turned into a complete failure. At the same time, E pitched in more, taking care of M’s responsibilities.

One night the doorbell rang while M was lying in his room nursing a headache. The neighbor boy had brought back the football glove M had forgotten at his house when he was playing with the kids. I asked a few questions and discovered M had still been hanging out with the neighborhood kids playing football, shooting hoops and apparently helping them with their math homework while we were all at work or school. And apparently, he had been doing this every single day for the past two weeks. E was livid.

The next morning, she announced that M was going to be job searching and asked if I could drop him off in the business district on my way to work. Within a few days, dropping him off somewhere to search for a job became part of the daily routine. He wasn’t thrilled with job hunting but he started spending a little more time downstairs and playing guitar with B again. He was ecstatic when he and B were asked to be the first act in a showcase of local bands.

This is really quite an awful video taken with an old-style cell phone. However, it is one of only a handful of videos I have of M and B performing together. Because M talked B into singing in this song (and he never sings, ever) it is one of my favorites anyway.

But then M started skipping the offered job hunting rides.

He began to openly spend his days solely on video games and guitars. Unfortunately, M also admitted that in all this time, he had applied for only two jobs and that he felt looking for work was a waste of time. He didn’t care to go driving and he just didn’t feel like going to school or taking his GED exam.

I was completely conflicted. When they moved in M and E promised they would work towards moving forward. E was doing this. In fact, she had just gotten another pay raise. Unfortunately, M was an entirely different story and I had no idea what to do to help him get back on track.

So, I sat them both down. I told them what I was observing – both the good and the undesirable. I reminded them of the goals they set and that the expectation was for them to continually move forward. I reminded M of his options:

  • Genuinely work towards getting a job
  • Work on getting a driver’s license
  • Work on getting his GED
  • Re-assess their goals and list out the steps needed to accomplish them

I asked them how they wanted to proceed. They looked at each other. M nodded and E said it. “We’re going to move out. I think we’re ready.”

These were the conditions … And this was their choice.

So … why did it feel as if my heart just dropped into my stomach? Why did it feel as though my world was suddenly, brutally, infinitely more empty?

This is just another very awful video taken with an old-style cell phone. However, It is the only recording I have of M playing percussive guitar. The sound and picture quality are horrid; however, it is all I have and is another one of my favorites.

(Don’t stop reading this series. There are three more installments before the actual end of ‘the story.’ ❤ )