I’ve been hiding in the shadows…REALLY???

south carolina

I’ve got some heroin I’m selling” she said


For the past week I’ve been out of town (at an undisclosed location) and one day found me walking along the beach late at night as the sun was setting. It was a beautiful sight, the palm trees gently swaying in the wind as the waves crashed into the shore. It was the kind of night I wished every night could be….and then an old looking woman interrupted me.

Her face was really beat up with age. She was probably barely only years old, but sun dried skin and a hard life had really taken a toll on her.

I’ve got some heroin I’m selling” she whispered as I walked by

It’s not the first time someone had tried selling me hard drugs as I was walking late at night and I’m doubt it will be the last time. There’s something about walking around late at night that makes people comfortable enough to reach out and sell you something illegal. I remember walking around late at night in Central America a few years ago and a dude on one corner tried pimping me out his girl, and another guy on the very next corner tried selling me some cocaine. I felt just as bad hearing this fifty year old woman speak to me as I did the two people in Central America.

There’s a part of the United States that is hidden from our daily eyes. We go to work, eat our meals, talk to our friends, and connect with our daily lives via our various social networks. Yet beyond the vail of our nice automobiles and manicured lawns lies people who have lived some pretty tragic lives. Young men who’ve overdosed and died from drugs. Young women who’ve prostituted their bodies to meet the rent payment each month or to feed their children.

Some of these people have probably brought a lot of the tragedy upon themselves through bad choices they’ve made. While others were simply unfortunate enough to grow up in the wrong household or find themselves with friends who turned out to be bad apples.

Ultimately, there is a world in the dark of night that very few of us see. We’d probably surprised to see people that we love dearly and some people who we have the highest respect for hiding in the shadows of the night.

A couple years ago a Christian minister I knew found himself stealing from his congregation and having an affair behind his wife’s back. Stealing the money and committing the affair had a pretty devastating effect on this dude’s life when everyone found out what was going on.

But the truth of the matter is that any and all of us can find ourselves making bad decisions. Most of us don’t have our entire lives fall apart from our bad choices, but nonetheless, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves…..we’re not any better than that woman who tried selling me heroin the other night.

If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, shouldn’t we love that woman as much as we love our neighbors and our friends? Is it really good that we close our eyes to the people who hide in the shadows of the night?

Or perhaps we should go on pretending that life is peachy keen…….

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,



Categories: Culture & Society

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28 replies

  1. Totally agree, I try never to judge another person as my Nan once told me ‘that you may never know what a son, daughter, grand-daughter or grand-son will one day do’, and that’s not even mentioning your own self! None of us is perfect.

  2. More and more as I walk my walk with Him – there is less and less “them and us” – good and bad – right and wrong – saved and unsaved. There is “us” all together. I am no different. I am not disconnected. I cannot be disconnected.
    Thanks KJ – your post plopped into a very receptive heart this morning. 🙂

  3. Nobody is perfect. That is why Bible is our compass and Jesus is our Saviour to save us.

  4. I try to take people as they are and treat them the way I want to be treated.

  5. We should not pretend but at the same time we should not take it as normal that there are prostitution and drugs. If we REALLY love people we must PREVENT BOTH using all possible measures. Love and charity without fight against drugs and prostitution only produce more sufferings and more poverty.

    • The war on drugs declared by Richard Nixon in 1973 has been a complete and utter failure. Drug use and crimes related to drugs have spiraled out of control since the announcement. Crimes related to drugs and financed by drug-dealing include murder, illegal arms-dealing, terrorism, child pornography, slave-trading, money-laundering, theft, bribery, corruption and, to top it all, prostitution of women, and children of both sexes. I don’t think we need to encourage more fighting of anything.

    • But we are fighting poverty for many years with trillions of dollars without good results. I think that it is due to open borders and not decisive actions against drugs and all related crimes.

    • ‘I think’ is not the same as producing facts. While not wanting to use Kenneth’s blog to promote my own, I hope he allows me to refer to you to my article on the subjects, which is packed with well-researched evidence, and many links to back it up, compiled over years. You can access it through any search engine by tapping in The Myth Peddlars followed by Bryan Hemming.

      Poverty is a different question. I could just as easily link the war on drugs to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have had billions,if not trillions, of dollars thrown at them with no measurable success. If anything, quite the opposite. Comparing poverty with the war on drugs shows you have no real argument.

      One thing is certain, the simplistic idea of ‘fighting’ poverty,by throwing bucket-loads of money at it, is not the solution.

    • I agree with the last paragraph and I will explore your blog. Then we’ll be able to return to the topic of fight against drugs.

  6. That poor woman. I feel so sorry for homeless people and those who can’t help themselves. A huge proportion of homeless people have addictions and mental health problems. Helping them isn’t a matter of putting a roof over their heads. They need assistance and support for the rest of their lives.

  7. Except by the Grace of God, go I…

  8. Good post. We might be surprised who is really out there in the night, just beyond the shadows. We have certainly seen the mighty fall — congressmen, clergymen, businessmen (and women), sports figures, Hollywood celebs. When you boil it down, we are all just human beings walking around this rock together, and we are all subject to human frailties. Some of us just have further to fall than others.

  9. Every one of these people in the shadows has a name. They’re human and just like you and me. They need to be seen and loved. Good word.

  10. It’s true that “except by the Grace of God, go I…” And a little humility is good. Nevertheless, I intend to honor “the Grace of God” by keeping to the peachy-keen side as much as possible.

  11. Crisis of dark night hoping to be rescued by the day light! 🙂

  12. You’re right, we should care about people living in the shadows. My heart may be in shadows even if my actions look light.

  13. I love this post. What great sentiments you’ve expressed.

    People often do clean up quite nicely. Not everyone of course, sometimes the damage we do to ourselves is permanent. The other day, I was talking with some people who have walked in even darker places than I have and we all caught a glimpse of ourselves in a store mirror. Rather then the adjusting of hair or the look or horror that usually strikes you, all three of us said at exactly the same time, “I’m am so glad I don’t look like what I’ve been through!” It was a funny moment, one of appreciation and gratitude. It’s a good thing most of us don’t actually look like what we’ve been through or the world would be a scary place indeed.

    It’s really true, when you are suffering, the weight of the world is on your shoulders and even young people will start to look old and hard. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

  14. I totally agree Kenneth! We need to care about and help those folks as much as we do those who don’t have those types of struggles but it’s difficult because so many people are afraid to care (in a manner of speaking). Many don’t want to get their hands dirty or immediately assume it’s pointless or worse yet…it’s none of their business so they’d rather just turn a blind eye. It’s not easy to love people who make such bad choices (for me it would be difficult to love the minister – cheating is just one of those triggers for me and it’s particularly bad that he stole from the congregation yet preaches about NOT doing those things so he’s not ONLY a cheater/liar but also a hypocrite HOWEVER if we learn anything it’s that forgiveness is always needed). It’s really crazy to think that often we “create” those folks by turning a blind eye anyway. Great post! 🙂

  15. Amazing how common place it is, yet the taboo stigmatism is quite ironic. Instead of turning a blind eye how about we, me included, need to give out a helping hand. Thanks for sharing sir I’m inspired.

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