“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
–Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

Eddie Young still spent most of his time alone, but he would sometimes get out and work on his daily living skills. However, everything still seemed foreign to him. All the things he once took for granted, like dressing and traveling, suddenly presented unexpected obstacles.
Shortly after Eddie came to Friendly House, his social worker contacted the State Division for the Blind. Eddie’s caseworker told him that a specialist in the blindness field would help him recover the skills that he had lost, but he was dubious.
The caseworker had been true to her word, but now 6 months had passed, and Eddie sat alone in his room. He couldn’t help sardonically reflecting on his first meeting with his instructor.
The man had introduced himself as Mr. Conner, but he said most people just called Him conner. The instructor had breezed in as though this were the easiest case in the world, but something didn’t seem right to Eddie then, and it still didn’t after all these months.
Conner wasn’t ready for his first confrontation with Eddie’s social worker at Friendly House. The social worker tried to get them to stay in the conference room, where he could observe them under the guise of discussing Eddie’s case. Luckily, Conner didn’t want to talk about Eddie like he wasn’t there, so the rehab specialist had been adamant about going to neutral territory, where the ice could be broken more easily. After putting up a fight which was supposedly in Eddie’s best interest, the social worker reluctantly gave in.
It was the first time Eddie had been off campus. In spite of that fact, he didn’t look forward to it one bit.
After he started the car, Mr. Conner tried to strike up a conversation with Eddie.
“So, Eddie, why don’t you tell me about some of the goals and objectives you want to pursue?”
The response was a stony silence that hung between them like a wall. Besides stating his preference in music, Eddie kept his thoughts locked in the vault of his mind.
When they reached the local coffee shop, The instructor showed Eddie to a seat, but their meeting remained awkward as the same silence prevailed.
Sitting down, Mr. Conner cleared his throat and tried to smile. “What’ll you have, Eddie? My treat.”
“Nothing,” Conner’s client growled. “Just leave me alone.”
“Eddie, I know you don’t like me, and I don’t really blame you. But since we’ve got to work together, can we try and be friends?”
“No. You’re right–I don’t know you,” Eddie scoffed. “We just met. The best thing you can do is leave me alone.”
Unfazed, mr. Conner sat back in his seat. “All in good time, but first I want to help you out. The things that used to be simple will seem frustrating for a while, and you may be tempted to give up. Don’t do that, no matter how hard things get. Try to look on these new obstacles as a challenge. If you do, you will regain your independence faster.”
“Now wait a minute,” Eddie responded bitterly. “This isn’t a game, and it sounds like you’re trying to make one out of my life.”
“No, not at all!” the instructor replied. “The social worker already told me about your accident, and I won’t pretend to walk in your shoes. I’m not saying that starting your life over will be easy by any means. I’m saying that your mind is a really powerful tool. If you let it, your mind will aid you in adapting to new situations.”
“Okay,” Eddie replied curtly, “I guess I can understand what you mean intellectually, but what do you know about pain? I don’t need or want a babysitter.”
“You’ve got things all wrong, Eddie. If I’m responsible for giving you the wrong impression, I’m sorry.”
Eddie grunted his ascent, and Mr. Conner spent the rest of the hour outlining his client’s skills and potential goals over coffee. Then they went home, with an agreement to start working on those skills next week.
After a few months, though, Mr. Conner wrapped up his lesson by saying it was time to do some paperwork.
“You see,” he explained, “the state makes me evaluate every client that I have on a quarterly basis. Next week, I’m afraid it’s your turn. I’ll take you to a coffee house where we can chat.”
As Conner was gathering his things and preparing to leave, he paused and turned to his client.
“Once I was a lot like you, Eddie. I thought I needed to isolate myself.”
“What do you mean?” asked Eddie.
“Well,” Mr. Conner smiled, “I’ll tell you when I come back next week over a cup of coffee. That’ll give you something to look forward to after all that fun paperwork.”
Eddie reluctantly agreed and Conner left, saying that he was late for his next client.
After the two men had driven to Carol’s Coffee the next week, Eddie got situated and handed Conner a couple of bills.
“Sorry for the wait,” the instructor said when he returned from the counter. “Here’s your coffee, and here’s your money.”
Before Eddie could say a word, the instructor reached into his briefcase and pulled out the dreaded forms. It took over half an hour, but Conner and Eddie managed to soldier through their task.
Conner sighed with relief and took another sip of his coffee.
“You asked me a question at our first meeting that I didn’t answer.”
“Oh? And what was that?” Eddie asked, cocking his head.
“You asked me what I knew about pain, and I would like to tell you now. I was hesitant to say anything at first, because I would be in big trouble if the state ever found out. But I don’t think I have any choice, so I’ll just have to let the chips fall where they may. This is hard for me to talk about, but it may just be the most important thing you’ll ever hear, so please listen.
“My wife died 5 years ago, and I thought my life had come to an end.”
“I can relate,” Eddie grunted, sitting back in his chair.
“Please don’t talk,” Conner continued. “There’s more.
“I started drinking, and I eventually lost everything I had. I never thought about God much, but when I finally found myself at the bottom of the barrel, I became angry.
“One day I called out to Him. ‘God, I don’t know whether you’re real or not, but I want to know why You took everything from me. Everybody says You’re a God of love, but I don’t believe it, so you’ll have to show me.’
“To make a long story short, Eddie, I learned that while God did allow those awful things to happen in my life, He showed His mercy and grace by walking through the tough times with me. I became His follower, surrendering everything I had to Him, and you can do the same.”
“I don’t know about that God stuff,” Eddie sneered, “but as far as the staff of Friendly House is concerned, the bottom line is all about making money off of me.”
“What do you mean?” the instructor asked, perplexed.
“I mean I’m nothing more than a pawn to them,” Eddie told him.
“I know it sounds absurd, but I have to admit that when it came to leaving the campus, the social worker’s attitude did seem awfully fishy. Can you explain how you’re being treated like a pawn?”
“I’ll be glad to,” Conner’s client said, rolling up his sleeves. “Just look at this.”
Conner whistled in shock as he beheld Eddie’s bare skin. “You’re not kidding! Those cuts and bruises on your arms look really bad.”
Conner took out his cell phone and put it to his ear. “We need to call the authorities at once,” he said emphatically.
“Put that down,” snapped Eddie firmly.
“But why?”
“Because they’ll put two and two together,” Eddie replied, “and then I’ll be in a worse jam than ever.”
“I see what you mean,” Conner reluctantly sighed. “I’ll put the phone away.”
Once the instructor and his client were in Conner’s car, Conner mumbled, “I won’t call the police, but you really need some kind of a plan.”
“That sounds great, but how do I know I can trust you?”
“You don’t have any other option, as I see it,” Mr. Conner shot back.
After a long silence, Eddie sighed. “I guess that’s a chance i’ll have to take.”
“I won’t let you down, Eddie,” Conner said, flipping on the car radio.
Against all the laws of probability, the speakers blared out the same song Eddie had heard on the old radio in his room.
Or was it really probability, he wondered?

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
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