God Searches for Us – Part 4: The Search for Peace
Fourth in a series. Read Part Three.
A couple of months after my meltdown over my stepson sassing his mother, we encountered more problems. Three weeks into the school year, the principal’s office called my wife to let her know her son had never been to class.
To make sure he did, she started driving him to school. As soon as she drove away, he walked out the back door.
That soon led to a confrontational discussion. He admitted he didn’t like school and no longer wanted to go. At 16, he could legally quit.
We agreed, on the condition that he look for a job. For the next two weeks, he apparently just hung out with his buddies.
One afternoon our landlord called my wife at work. Since he owned a number of rental homes in our subdivision, he “heard” a lot from neighbors.
“I got a call from someone that your son was joyriding in the neighborhood with the music blaring,” he told. “I’m not upset. I just thought you’d like to know.”
Trouble Moves Away
That evening when she got home from work, my wife called her ex-husband in Ohio.
“Your son’s coming to live with you,” she said.
Three days later, we drove him to the Greyhound bus station in Denver.
“There go our problems,” I thought.
If only life were that simple.
Within a month of departing, my stepson had talked his father into moving back to West Virginia. A jack-of-all-trades type, Dad was used to moving a lot, so relocating wasn’t a big deal.
They wound up renting a mobile home a few blocks from our old house. In no time, my stepson was running around with the old friends who had partially inspired our move.
Because it was a small town, and because we still had family in the area, reports soon filtered out to us about his activities.
Lack of Peace
One thing I learned during these weeks is that the absence of conflict doesn’t equate to peace. I still didn’t have any. Nor had I found the job at a trade publication in Denver to be that much better than my previous one.
Within a couple of months of starting there, an employee engineered what could best be described as a hostile takeover. The publication had a board of directors, who each held a certain amount of stock.
By a combination of flattery and backstabbing, this employee persuaded a majority of the stockholders to vote him in as publisher. He may have thought he could do a better job of running the place, but he quickly proved that not to be the case.
“I’ve got to get out of the newspaper business,” I thought.
If there was one thing I needed right then, it was a laugh. Fortunately, it was then I learned about comedienne Lily Tomlin coming to a theater in Denver. I had interviewed her in 1975 while living in Florida and gone to see her perform in St. Petersburg.
Not only did I know she was hilarious, but she also put low-priced tickets on sale the morning of her show for people brave enough to wait until the last minute to purchase them.
Change in the Air
I drove to the theater that Saturday morning to get tickets. Although eager to see Tomlin again, I couldn’t shake the feelings of gloom that hung over me.
The fears of what might happen to my stepson and how it could affect us dogged me like a bad dream. There was no peace in my mind.
Little did I know how dramatically my life was about to change.