Sean drinks his beer from a bottle that nests between his legs on the way home from work as a journeyman electrician. It's become his lifestyle to drop back the brew throughout the night and fire up an ace to cap off an evening. To Sean, this is the life... sort of.
He's a truly big guy, with a deep and throaty voice. He sounds uneducated, quite dumb really, and while he has the biggest, deepest heart you could imagine... he doesn't often make intelligent decisions.
His friends are "bikers." (this doesn't help stereotypes) Some of his friends are twelve-stepping it and some of them are still happy to buy rounds and kick back to talk "Harley." Most of them do drink, most of them smoke more than a Marlboro. Sometimes they'll freebase coke.. sometimes they'll smoke crack... most of the time it's 'tame' and doesn't get any worse than some beer and a joint.
Sean's lucky that he passed his electrician's exam and has his initial license. He doesn't aspire to go on to get his Masters... it's easier to hang back and pick up work here and there.
So, he's got no outward ambition, doesn't bother anybody, keeps to himself and his girlfriend.. and his small circle of buddies.. is a great guy when it comes right down to it, but he's stuck.
He admits that he's stuck in this lifestyle that he doesn't know how to go about coming out of, and what's difficult about that is that Sean -wants- out of it. It is such a part of him to drink and share drugs, to work wherever, not really having any roots anywhere, with anyone, not having to commit to anything but one job at a time, with one contractor at a time.
He's able to function as a drinker and a drug user... so much that he can wire someone's home... and yet to look at him, to talk to him, there is no hiding the fact that he lives easily in this smoking-drinking world.
That would be fine if it was what Sean truly wanted.. but it wasn't. It still isn't, but now he is so immersed in the culture that he doesn't know how to be any other way.
His skin, hair, nails and eyes all share the affects of his choices. His speech and vocabulary portrays brain cells that consistently misfire. He wants to be a smart man, and he can be.. He wants to be a loving man, and he is. He wants to live more freely... and is just coming to the realization that smoking weed and drinking his nights away and inconsistency of employment are far less than living a life of freedom (though they are packaged as the most freeing style of life!)
So, he wants out. So, he told me this over the phone... never having revealed this much to anyone in his life before.
I asked "What does your life need, Sean? What needs to happen to you, or for you, so that you can have confidence that living the way you really want to is going to be okay, that you can do it and you can really make it the way you want it to be?"
Sean said, "That's a really good question." Through his tears, over the phone, I heard, "I don't have an answer, Wendy. That's a really good question."
But, I think he knows the answer. I think we all know our answers, but are afraid to ask the questions.. because we know we will hear that the road to take is the hardest, bumpiest, loneliest, longest one... and we are always looking for options to that.
I hope Sean keeps in touch with me, and I hope his time in prison will help him to really hear the answers that he has inside of him. I hope Sean will dare to be the man he yearns for. I can hear the man inside of him. I hear him and I can't bring him out... only Sean can. Through hard work at things like responsibility and integrity and morality and spirituality and endurance, trust, hope... and above all.. love.
My prayer is that each of us will finally listen to the man or woman that exists in there... and let him or her live. Just let go and let live.
I asked God for motivation in my life.... to live this authentically myself.. and he sent me Sean. It's a message I can't ignore nor keep to myself.