“Conservative people are not homeless!” I told or rather screamed to myself as I walked into the Union Rescue Mission with my 13 year old son in toe. My soul was having a meltdown. I felt alone and scared. I never knew I would find another conservative in the least likely place-a 16 year old Hispanic boy, whom we will call L.D.
I had walked by his bed in the dayroom many times but we never spoke except for the occasional “Can I help you, ma’am?” Or “How are you doing, ma’am?” L.D. was the most respectful and polite young man I have ever met. He was always willing to be of service to others. But beyond that we didn’t speak. After all, we had nothing in common (or so I thought). I was a 47 year old single mother with a failing body and a tired spirit and he was a 16 year old boy with his whole life ahead of him. What possibly could we have to say to each other? But that all changed with four words, “You like Ben Shapiro?” He was on his bed reading Ben Shapiro’s “The People vs. Barack Obama.” and I just thought that was so cool.
We started talking from that point on. I found out he hated Obama, liberals and “social constructs.“ I had found my refuge of sanity in otherwise insane world. I had finally found someone I could talk to about politics. Someone who wasn’t a flaming liberal or some evangelical who thinks I was some kind of Satan worshiper because I was Mormon. After that first night, he started seeking me out to talk to me further. He told me, “I want to learn from you.” So I would tell him all my life lessons, it was almost addicting having someone to share that knowledge with. With my son, he assumes I know nothing so we tend to have more arguments than discussions. However, as our conversations continued Adonai (or Mathew as he likes to be called in here.) would jump in and put in his two cents. He found out his mother is not the idiot he thinks I am.
Every night we would have the best talks. We mostly talked about religion and he liked my take on Heavenly Mother. I will not get into all the details because this is not a theology debate but rather a description of what we talked about. In any case, as I described who I thought Heavenly Mother was he thought about it and was like, “Yeah that makes sense.” During our talks I always made sure to clarify what was doctrinally sound and what was just my opinion. Heavenly Father was not going to accuse me of being a false teacher. Even so, it felt good to share my vision, what I knew absolutely to be true and what were just my wishes. Wishes that for once didn’t get mocked and ridiculed. Wishes that were understood for what they were-dreams of a shattered, Earthly mother.
Then that awful night happened. The night that Children Protective Services (CPS) came and got him. I came back to the shelter right before the cut off time. I didn’t see L.D. around but figured he might be at work. Sometimes he came in after the regular cut-off time because he got permission from the URM to work later. I was told there was a “situation” going on. Unfortunately, I had grown accustomed to such “situations” transpiring here at the URM. I had seen too many children get taken from their parents here but I never expected L.D. would be one of them. His mother came in the dayroom where we all slept and was making a fuss. However, when CPS comes to take your kid you don’t exactly act rationally. If you did, I would be worried about you. She was separating his clothes from her clothes and the staff was telling to hurry up before he left. She never got to say good-bye to her own son. And I didn’t get to say good-bye to my conservative buddy.
When the staff told her that he was gone, my heart dropped. If my heart didn’t understand this situation, my head understood even less. After all, it wasn’t like he was my son though I was starting to feel like he was “my other son.” It also wasn’t like we knew each other all that long, so why the sorrow? I didn’t get it. All I could figure is that there are certain people you meet in your life, even for a moment, who restore your faith in your fellow man. He was one of those. He didn’t need to be taught to be Christian-like, he already was. He didn’t need to be taught to see people with compassion and mercy, he already did. I am just glad that on this awful journey that I am on that I got a glimpse of Christ. I am just sorry CPS took his representative away.