I know what Jeb Bush is going through right about now.
He has to balance on his nerves the governor's job and the dad's job. Daughter Noelle has gone to jail, led off in handcuffs, due to having crack cocaine in her shoe while in a drug center.
Not good. Not happy. Not nice for a father to carry. Jeb told the media that he thinks about his daughter "every minute of every day."
True. Been there, done that.
I am a dad. My adopted multi-racial son came into our loving family at 2 l/2 months. In his mid-teens, he let loose with the underground culture of drugs and violence.
That led to 5 years in federal prison.
My wife and I drove thousands upon thousands of miles to four different facilities — in New York, Ohio and Michigan. We sat with our son, prayed with our son, laughed with our son. I wrote him a letter every single day he was behind bars.
Our home church interceded on his behalf, keeping in touch with him with our hearts.
How many days did I go about my ministerial obligations with a numb head? How many meals did I sit down to the table not knowing what I was eating? How many prayers did I offer for laity while offering silently my own fatherly intercession for my son? How many nights did I toss, wondering about his future?
Jeb, fellow, you have company in your angst. There are more out there more like-dads than you can imagine. The underground culture is stealing our kids — from good homes, too.
I was legally responsible for my son until he turned 18. On that birth date, I told him, "This is the happiest birthday of my life. From now on, when the police cruiser comes to this house, you can talk to the cop, not me."
What a dark day it was for my wife and me to sit in court while our son — tall, handsome, talented — stood there in his orange outfit and ankles in shackles, being sentenced — rightfully so — to a prison house?
And then to read about it in the two city newspapers? Hard stuff.
Unfortunately, upon his release, he went back to the underground. That's the magnet that "is out there." I have concluded that for now he has traded in his caring family for the mayhem culture.
Will he ever grow up? Will he ever return as the prodigal? Time will tell.
But now I am sitting here typing in oblivion. I understand that my son was to be sentenced after being apprehended for breaking his parole. But no detail has come through yet.
I am not all that anxious to grub about for the specifics. My nerves have been through enough hell pockets on this score. I will await the picture to come in more clearly in time.
In the meantime, my heart goes out to Jeb and all the others who try to sleep at night but have a hard time of because one of the "little ones" grown taller has been put away.
- J. Grant Swank, Jr.