The Above YouTube Music Video Captures the Selfishness of the First Half on My Friend’s Life
My friend left Law School to create and implement a 70-bed Residential Care Facility for recovering alcoholics. At age 23, he convinced County Welfare Officials that it was in the County’s best financial interest and congruent to their mission as a social service agency, to end the costly, ineffective system of Arrest/Court/Jail/Rehab/Release/Arrest etc. cycle-of-failure.
My friend owned a 37-unit building that was intended to be up-scale housing for students attending the nearby university. He converted that building into the “Transitional Care Facility” which housed 2 men in a spacious room, with a private bath (doubling his rental income). The facility also provided nutritious meals, professional counseling, daily AA meetings, Parole & Probation Officer contact, Job training, etc. The County paid for all of those services, along with a handsome salary to my friend, to manage the care facility programs.
That controlled, supportive environment was far more effective, and less costly than dumping the men after incarceration & rehab back on the street with a monthly voucher that could only afford a flop-house, and daily shots & beers at a nearby bar. Hence, resulting in the repetitious, expensive cycle of Arrest / Court / Jail / Rehab / Release / Arrest etc. The County gladly paid for “Transitional Care” services, which were fare less costly than the previous cycle of failure.
The project more than exceeded the projected savings. While some men relapsed, many were transformed into productive members of society. One man called my friend decades later to thank him. He said, “When I left the facility, I got a job as a counselor, married, bought a house, and have a family. I know of many other men that also flourished because of the “Transitional Care Facility”.
While grateful for that appreciative call, my friend felt conflicted. He knew that he saved the County money. He knew that he saved some men’s lives. But that call was a painful reminder why he left Law School to create and implement that project. He did it for the money.
The extra rent and handsome salary paid for his 280 SL Mercedes Benz convertible. It paid for the spacious 6th floor luxury apartment, with hard wood floors and 10-foot ceilings, overlooking lake Michigan. It paid for the professionally furnished great room, with a baby-grand piano in the corner. It paid for dates with beautiful women to concerts & plays, and dinner at 5-star restaurants. It could buy anything, but peace for his soul.
That project was also his entry to subsequent executive management positions with public and private companies, alike. When married, those opportunities provided for the large home in a subdivision with a lake, pool, and tennis courts. They also provided for the Country Club, vacations to 5-star resorts, and college for his children.
That phone call was a painful reminder of his selfishness. That call reminded him of Emerson’s verse about “Success”: “To laugh often, and much. To earn the respect of intelligent people, and the affection of children. And to know that even one life breathed easier, because you have lived.” (Only his life breathed easier.) He recalled the wisdom of Solomon, who tasted all of life’s pleasures & treasures, and concluded, “Vanity. All is vanity.”
When my friend lost all his income and assets to thieving friends & foes, alike, he recalled the Biblical Book of Job: A good man, robbed of all his possessions by thieves, who killed his sons and burnt his barns. Job sat on a dung hill on the outskirts of town, with dogs licking the open sores on his body, while his wife & townspeople mocked him. After all of that, Job said two things: “God knows me. And, my Redeemer lives.”
Job’s awareness of what’s valuable is akin to St. Paul’s assessment of things vs. a relationship with God: “I consider everything so much rubbish, that I might gain Christ.” Likewise, Kipling advised his son, “If you can watch the things you’ve given your life to, broken, yet stoop, and build them up with worn out tools, you’re a man, my son.”
So, in the twilight of his life, my friend is attempting to make even one life breathe easier, by sharing his life experiences with me, to publish as posts in my FREE website: www.messagesfrommyfriend.com, under one of the 6 Categories: Family /Relationships / Culture / Joy & Loss / Inspiration / “True North”.
Above YouTube Music Video Reflects My Friends Transformation from Selfishness to Caring as chronicled in Blog Post Above
My Friend shares these things without pride or pity, but with genuine concern that they may help someone.