When Jimmy was in jail, in the Correction Center downtown, where everyone, unless he is the wrong man, is bad, he was on a bad floor. He was there because his brother put him there, with murderers and molesters and rapists, even though he was technically in jail only on theft charge. He was in with the worst of the worst.
He shouldn’t have been there. He was the wrong man on the wrong floor. But you can’t always get what you want, no matter how bad you want it.
He called me once a week, usually on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon. When he told me about how he had started giving Bible lessons, and three jailbirds were coming to them, I sent him a Bible, even though he had argued with me about the seven deadly sins, and would not admit he was wrong, no matter what. Every time his pride rears its head, and it always goes right to his frigging fucking pride, I’m stuck in back, because he knows everything, Jimmy does.
Surprise, he doesn’t.
The biggest idiot you will meet in life will be the Jimmy who thinks he knows it all. Everyone who thinks they know it all have no way of finding out that they don’t.
I’m still learning about the Bible, and I’ve been reading it for years and years.
The core of Protestant teaching is in focusing on the Bible as the sole source of infallible truth, and the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone. We traditionally encourage private interpretation of the scriptures by one and all rather than relying on the interpretation of the church, like Catholics do.
Scripture is clear about the essential truths of salvation. That’s why I keep reading it. “When you follow Christ, it must be a total burning of all your bridges behind you,” is what Billy Graham once said.
Brian and I were out at a Friday night football game. We were rattling on about something I had said the week before, that he was pissed off about, and missing most of the game as we rattled on.
“There’s nothing for you to get pissed off about,” I said.
“OK,” said Brian, “but what about Jimmy? What is he going to do when he gets out?”
I knew that he thought he would be getting out of jail sometime during the holidays.
“Where is he going to go? asked Brian. “What is he going to do?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s not my thing.”
Jimmy was waiting for the kidnapping and armed robbery charges to be dropped, because they weren’t real, and waiting to be released on the lesser charge of simple theft. He was talking to his lawyer, waiting, watching time creep along.
“I don’t know where he’s going to go. He kind of burnt that bridge with us.”
I don’t think you want to burn bridges unnecessarily, but some bridges are just meant to be burned. Some roads are not meant to be traveled again, like the Jimmy highway, when there have been too many fender benders and crashes on that road.
He has lost all his jobs with the union. He’s been stupid. He lost a great gig with them. If he can even do it, he’s going to have to fight hard to get back into the union.
“Julie,” Brian said, we might have to do that, take him in.”
“What? We’ve been there, done that. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Honey, we need to help him out.”
“Look, this is you and Jimmy,” I said. “I am not inviting him. If it were up to me, that bridge would stay burnt. I would be telling Jimmy, you’re not coming back, ever, sorry.”
“We’ve got to help him,” said Brian. He and Jimmy grew up together. They were best friends for a long time.
I wasn’t thrilled, not at all. I would have been surprised if Jimmy even asked us, though. I didn’t think he would. But I knew he couldn’t just get another pick-up truck and live in that. It would bring back the loneliness in him.
Loneliness is a part of life, but it is the least favorite part about life for most people. Jimmy is so self-centered he gets lonely easy.
We can help him, I thought, but he doesn’t have to live here. I didn’t want him in my house. Besides, it would be better for him, building a life, to take responsibility and have his own place.
“I think we should give him a place to live until he can get his own apartment,” said Brian.
“We’ve had him here before,” I said. “If you feel you need to put me in this predicament, I predict I’m going to kick him out again.”
I love Jimmy, but being in jail, getting out of jail, he hasn’t proven he’s not going to go steal stuff again. I don’t think he would ever steal from me. He’s never done it, yet. The only thing he’s ever done is ask me for money. But it depends. It depends on how bad his addiction gets. He needs to go to rehab, and continue going to rehab, before he does anything else.
I told Brian, “I don’t think we should be coddling him, either. He should get his own place, make his own bed. He’s like a brother to me, I love him, but always helping him, no, I don’t love him that much.”
He needs to get a job, get an apartment, get a truck, pay his own bills, make his own bed, and look out for himself.
It can’t be me looking out for him. Not anymore. That bridge has burnt down.