Children vs. Fine After 50

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will soon learn, if you haven’t already, that in our opinion the keys to feeling fine after 50 — in spite of one’s physical condition and in spite of one’s circumstances in life — are (1) to have a personal relationship with God based on trust in His word, and (2) to maintain a positive mindset regarding the present and the future.

There is great debate over what it means to have a personal relationship with God, how such a relationship comes about, and what is necessary on our part to maintain it. There are also differing opinions as to what is the source of a positive mindset regarding the present and the future, and what is necessary on our part to maintain such a mindset. These questions will be discussed and debated in ongoing blog posts on both FineAfter50 and Structured Ink — but not in this article…

I’ve found that it’s usually much easier for me to trust God regarding my own life than it is to trust Him concerning someone else’s life. And it’s much easier for me to develop and maintain a positive attitude regarding my own life than it is to do the same regarding someone else’s life.

Case in point: I’ve been in a funk for the past two days. I’ve felt profoundly sad as well as sorry for my 23-year-old son. I haven’t felt fine after 50.

My son was out with his girlfriend and three Hispanic friends in Hollywood two nights ago. As they were all walking back to their cars to go home, the three Hispanic guys were attacked by a group of eight men, at least one of which had a knife. My son did not participate in the street fight that followed, but stayed close enough to the melee to be spotted by the police when they arrived. At that point, my son and his girlfriend turned and continued walking to their car.

As the attackers scattered, the police gave chase, but only caught up with my son and his girlfriend since they were walking, not running. (All of the attackers got away.)

The police yelled, “Stop!” My son froze in his tracks, his back to the officers. One of them said, “Turn around and put your hands behind your back.” My son did not comply. He was then taken to the concrete sidewalk hard by one of the officers. When he verbally objected to being slammed to the ground, three officers kicked him and beat him while he was on the ground. They forced his girlfriend to sit on the ground and face a wall and not look at what was happening.

My son is now being held at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station until Tuesday, when he will appear in court on the charge of “obstructing the duties of an officer.” Because I’m a civilian volunteer with the Lomita Station of the Los Angeles Sheriff Department (LASD), the watch commander at the West Hollywood station allowed me to have a “video conference” with my son from the lobby of the station. Just one problem with that: my son could see me, but I couldn’t see him; the video monitor in the station lobby was blank.

I don’t know why my son refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back when the police officer told him to do so. I don’t think he knows either. Prior to that moment, he hadn’t done anything wrong. He deserved to be taken to the ground for ignoring a direct, lawful command from a law enforcement officer. But I don’t think he deserved to be severely beaten after he had already been subdued, regardless of what he said to the officers. He had to be taken to the hospital before being taken to jail for booking. His only “crime” was not turning around and putting his hands behind his back when he was instructed to do so.

I feel so badly for him. I’ve been sad all weekend. I’ve felt miserable. I’ve wanted to pray for him, but I haven’t known how to pray or what to pray for. And I haven’t known how to get out of my funk. Then today, a breakthrough.

I was listening to a CD in my car called Hymns for Guitar. One of the cuts was a hymn called, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” As I listened to the guitar music, I whispered the words: “Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word; Just to rest upon His promise, just to know ‘Thus saith the Lord.'”

Then I remembered a promise from God in Hebrews 13:5-6. It says, “Let your way of life be free from the love of money, being content with what you have, for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”

I realized that God is with my son even as he sits in jail for three days, waiting for his day in court. I also realized that I should pray for my son that he would remember that God is with him; that he would know that he’s not abandoned. Also I’m praying that he will learn two important lessons from this experience: never ignore or disobey a command from a police officer even if you think it’s unreasonable or unfair, and never, NEVER mouth off to a police officer even if you are certain you are being treated unfairly.

I still feel sorry for my son that he’s having to go through this experience. I’m still sad for him also. But I’m now back to feeling Fine After 50, thanks to an old, old gospel hymn and a Bible passage I memorized years ago. In other words, thanks to God.

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