My Peaceful Protest: On a Park Bench

July 25, 2020

Hello there, what a fine summer’s day!

May I join you on this park bench

While I watch ‘my children’ play?”

(On the monkey bars)

And he turning to me

Smiling

With a sparkle in his old eyes

That had seen his world turn sideways—

It was this he had to say:

“Harsh realities, Son.”

(somehow I found this comforting)

Then he turned towards the play ground where an older woman was pushing a child on a swing.

“Higher, grandma!” Squealed the child with delight, “Make me go higher!”

And the older woman replied with a giggle:

“If you go any higher you’ll be flying!”

“I want to fly higher, grandma!”

“Ok ok, little Icarus!

Hold on tightly now…”

Sitting down I

Notice

A

Bottle

Between the old man’s feet.

An empty water bottle filled with used needles.

(I gesturing)

“Busy morning?”

And he being only too happy to speak up:

“Ever since the state started their needle exchange program…that’s my granddaughter there with her grandmother (shaking his head in sad reflection)…they told us it was the most compassionate thing to do…that was over thirty years ago…you ever loved someone addicted—or been in love with someone who loved an addict?”

(I had)

“Tears your heart out with no anesthesia…changes you, eh? Something you soon won’t forget.”

(and he looking straight into my faraway eyes—

I reply:)

“I met Heather* when she was ‘in recovery’. She

Seemed

So

Damn

Determined! I

Thought she was so

Cute and adventurous. Together

We

Were going to conquer the world–”

“And then it happened, eh?”

(I turning to face the old man—)

“And then it happened…”

(and here I am watching Heather’s kids while she ‘pulls herself together’. Don’t get me wrong—I love her kids—they are the ones who suffer the most, and it makes me happy to see them play, but they need their father. She says, “he is an alcoholic.” He says, “and people wonder why I drink.”)

“Son,” said the old man, “Give me a woman in charge of her own mind any day of the week and especially on Sundays!”

(and I laughing out loud)

“Amen!”

…the next time I came to see the old man on the park bench, I came alone.

–NZain

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. What do you think? Does the needle exchange program truly reduce harm? Is it a benefit for the whole community? I’d love to know your views.

*inspired by actual events.

Author: NZain

Finding my way forward...

16 thoughts on “My Peaceful Protest: On a Park Bench”

  1. I am always inspired by your deep, thought-provoking posts my friend!
    As for as the questions at the end, I’m not really sure how I feel. I do know that I pray every person touched by drugs will find healing for themselves and their families.
    Beautiful pic, my friend! 💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Renee always for your kind words. Glad these posts inspire you—cause you are inspiring to me! It is a tough question with no real clear answer. And now the problem is only getting worse. Harsh reality. I do try and imagine—if Jesus were in the park with his disciples today and saw the used needles and junkies strung out in despair—would he cry? Would he call out the failed politicians? “Vipers!” I pray too…
      Thanks, my sweet tea friend!💓

      Like

  2. You wrote this so thoughtfully, Nina. Thank you for including the link. I had no idea that there was such a thing as free needles. Addiction and the suffering it causes to so many is truly heartbreaking. I loved the man’s line at the end about a woman who knows her own mind. 🤗💞🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Suzanne—always. I didn’t know about this until recently either. Ok, I get the idea behind it—so people don’t share needles and risk infection—but really? I have a tough time with this enabling another generation of drug users. It is heartbreaking. As I see it—the whole community suffers for it. Hmmm…defund the police? Yeah. Sure.
      Glad you liked that line—a sound mind is beautiful. A place to keep friends safely in your thoughts.😉💓

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really don’t see how the needle exchange can help, it’s not getting to the root of the problem. These people need help and treatment to overcome their addiction, let them know they are loved and that they are special. Giving them needles just helps the problem to continue which doesn’t help them or their families. Give them some real help to overcome their addiction then you don’t need the needle exchange program.

    Like

    1. Hi Steve—thank you so much for your thoughtful comments—as always I appreciate you here! And I completely agree with you—well said—it doesn’t get to the root of the problem, and it only seems to encourage a new generation of users. Only benefits the drug dealers. And it’s only getting worse! But now that it seems out of hand…just defund the police. Let addicts shoot up in the open. So what if kids are present to see…sigh…
      Hey I have some catching up to do with your stories—I’m way behind! I hope you are well, Steve. Have a great evening. Seeing the comet Neowise last week was really neat! 🙂🖐😸

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Nina, yes, you are absolutely right, sometimes I wonder who comes up with these ideas and how they think it will help. And since this needle exchange idea came along here the problem has gotten worse. So sad.
        I missed seeing the comet, too many hills and too cloudy, sigh. I had a bad week with my health, I have been confirmed with having had Covid-19 and the doctor said to expect problems to persist for possibly weeks or months yet, kind of up and down. We had such beautiful weather last week and I spent most of the time inside. Oh well, could be much worse, so I am happy. Hope you have a great day!😃😺🖐Mr. Cat is doing great in the story!😻

        Like

    1. Aw thanks, ma. Learning how to smile and not hide. A little bit scary…
      Yes, sadly addiction (of all sorts) ruins many lives—my own family included.

      All the different experiences we can choose to have here in this life…all the learning opportunities. Another’s addictions need not ruin my life though—especially when it comes to personal relationships—with all due respect to that person.💓

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so welcome! You have a gorgeous smile, so don’t ever hide it. 😍

        I so agree with you! We need to preserve our core and persevere and not let addiction of a family member ruin us.

        Lots of love and hugs to you. 💖

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Beautiful post Nina, you’ve a loving heart. I think that the heartbreak that an addict causes is enormous and during the years I was a cop I saw many sad, sad cases, especially of young people and the sadness and despair that their addiction, and the things they did to support the habit, brought to their families. I think any plan that might offer a little bit of relief is good enough…the rest depends upon willpower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Francisco. I agree with you—the rest depends on willpower. And what if the person can’t or won’t? It is heartbreaking—and yet the reality is no can else can do it for them. And that may mean walking away from a lover or turning away from family. (Ask me how I know). We are told to “love the addict”…but not at the expense of ourselves. That isn’t love. And self-love is not narcissism. Oh you’ll get me going here! I could write a whole post! Haha!

      Yes, the young people are told such things by those who would control them—and they fall into despair. This is the saddest to me. This is the lie. But once they fall into addiction—it is difficult to come back. They must choose themselves—from the inside. There is support for healing.

      So, in the face of darkness—I turn towards the Light. God guides whom He wills—and who asks for guidance. Thanks for visiting and for your kind words dear friend. From one loving heart to another—We must stay strong 🙏🏻

      Liked by 1 person

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