As my Facebook friends are already aware, there's been a change in my personal life recently. My son's good friend Warren graduated from high school this spring and by last week found himself homeless, with only a bad part-time job. So we invited him to live with us for a while, and now there are four at the dinner table in the evening instead of three.
Warren has led a very difficult life, abused by his birth parents and then knocking around the foster system, including a couple stays in orphanages. Out of respect for his privacy I won't go into any more detail. But I will say this: with all he has been through, it would be understandable if he were bitter, rebellious, angry -- but he isn't any of those things. He has an indomitable spirit, a great sense of humor and a strong, healthy sense of self. He is sage beyond his years and willing to work hard. Sure, he's also a little scarred around the edges, but less so than I would expect. I admire the kid, and I anticipate that eventually, he will build a happy, fulfilling life. He and Sam were talking yesterday about how to respond to certain aggravations and Warren said, "I figure being really happy is the sweetest revenge..."
I was surprised by the reaction on Facebook when I posted that he had come to live with us. It was very positive -- too positive, almost. If I thought people were going to react that strongly, I probably wouldn't have posted it. I felt like someone was about to put me up for canonization. My perspective when Bob and I made the call was simply this: I had to either take him in, or stop saying I believe the things I've always said I believe. It was just that clear cut.
My perspective now is, it might just end up that in the long run, I get more from this act than I give. Oh, I realize he's been here less than a week, so we're still in the honeymoon period. Maybe it will all blow up in our faces at some point. But I don't think so.