The Choice Between

Our New Pup


2 Mondays ago we welcomed the newest member to our family, a beautiful, excited, chew everything, diarrhea everywhere, happy Goldendoodle 8-week old pup.

His name is Buster Silvermine Bojangles Dude Hewlett.

We love him.

As we got all set up, after a trip to the store to buy a kennel, bed, and chew toys, the time quickly passed from PM to AM as the kids were still up playing after midnight with our new little friend.

Suddenly I heard an explosion.

No one else heard it, as they were making noise with the dog, but as the Dad I seem to hear everything.

Running outside there it was: A white car smashed into the neighbor’s Ford Explorer that is always parked in front of their home.

No tire marks, no brake engaged, simple a smashed little white car into a vehicle twice it’s size, and it had pushed it over 10 feet forward.  I bet it was going over 40 on a 25 mph street.

A man came tumbling out of the driver’s side, wincing, choking, swearing up a storm in agony.

I shouted, “Dude, are you ok?”

He ran.

Down the street, up on the sidewalk, gimp-limping away with what appeared to be a broken leg.

I ran after him, shouting, “Hey, are you ok?  Let me help you!”

He turned and ran toward the neighbor’s yard, attempting to leap a fence taller than him.

I continued running, “Bro!  Stop.  Come lay down.  Let me help you!” 

That’s when he turned, looked me eye to eye, and began charging toward me with his hands in his hoodie…

In a split second I thought, Maybe he has a weapon?

I ran toward him anyway, because he seemed to need help and was disoriented.

Grabbing him, we both went to the ground, as he continued shouting words I can’t write here, in pain and anger, he moved, writhing and gagging as if to throw up.

I finally got him to calm down enough to tell me his name and I told him he’d be alright.

The neighbor called 911, my wife brought out a blanket as he lay on the cold, wet, snow having just dissipated grassy lawn.

As he whimpered and moaned, I tried to talk to him, check his leg to see if it was broken, and did all I could to comfort a stranger.

Looking at his car, it was totaled, no smoke came from it so we seemed safe next to it, and we awaited the police.

When the first Officer arrived he casually walked up, shined a flashlight down on us, and clearly stated,

“Well, hello there (full name, first and last).  What drug is it tonight?  Meth or heroin?”  

I asked, “You know him?” 

The Officer never acknowledged me, rather he continued with the suspect,

“You’ve been in jail for a year, buddy, out a week and now this?  When will you ever make the right choice?”

As I processed the situation, I decided to remain there and make sure the blanket was under his head as a pillow, while the officer made him show his hands and checked him for weapons.

Eventually the ambulance and firetruck pulled up, quietly, no sirens, bandaged up his leg, and then grilled him for 30 minutes on our curb before handcuffing him and taking him to jail.


What a night.

I had a hard time sleeping.

What if he’d had a weapon?

What if that was my last moment on earth?

Trying all I could to help a stranger, be a good Samaritan, and instead be the victim of a terrible crime in front of my children watching from the living room window?

Upon further reflection I realized there’s a choice between the lives we live.

I’ve known this forever, but it becomes more clear as life goes forth and when he face what could have been.

At some point that young man decided to try a drug that affected his thinking, eventually addicted him, and he has since paid the consequences and will continue to wreak havoc on society.

I remember the first time I was offered a drug, and even though I turned it away, I’m no better than this young man in the sense that I too have fallen into my own self-destructive habits and addictions, be it staying up too late, eating too much, or being judgmental of others.

I’m no better than him in that sense, but I know I’ve tried to make good choices in the long run.

And I’m the guy who will always run toward someone needing help, that’s a promise I never made, it’s just intrinsically in my DNA.

The choice between doing good with our lives and doing bad is such a fine line it’s astounding.

And it’s equally wonderful.

We are blessed with a free agency to act as we will, and if we contribute to society positively most often good will come of it.

Conversely if we break the law and make a mess of things we will be punished, either by the law or by what we create of our relationships and the ultimate destruction of all things we hold sacred.

It all comes down to a choice between which kind of life you decide to live.

Repenting and changing is possible, yet often the grip of addiction can ruin us and those around us.

The question for you is what choice have you made in your past that has led you to any place of discontent?

If you’re like me, you started biting your fingernails at 4 and haven’t stopped, perhaps someone called you ugly the first day of school and you accepted that as your lifelong curse, or maybe you believed you were bad at Math in 5th grade and it affected you the rest of your life up, even until the point your daughter asks for help with her homework and you are now passing the belief on to her…

It still remains a choice in these moments and times.  I can still fix it.  I can still change.  It’s just a choice between whatever promise I make to myself and those around me.

What is your choice right now and what kind of life do you promise to lead?



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18 thoughts on “The Choice Between”

  1. Really enjoyed the story Jason! I wish I made more of a concerted effort to go out and help people, but I do take comfort in the fact I am quick to act and help others where immediate action is needed. Oh, and I still occasionally bite my fingernails…but I’m 90% better than I used to be. All we can do is keep trying our best to improve. 🙂

  2. Your story reminds me of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. Most people would not even try to help that man. Even though he was a drug addicted ( and you had no way of knowing) you chose to be that Good Samaritan at know thought of the danger to yourself.
    You are an inspiration to us all Jason😊

  3. Wow. What a story, Jason!

    Having spent a good deal of time with men incarcerated in Pelican Bay supermax and listening to their stories, I’ve come to believe a major factor in people end up making irreversible life decisions is that they surrender their decision-making to drug and alcohol abuse. We all make mistakes, yes, but it seems like the mistakes people make while under the influence are particularly devastating and long-lasting.

    1. Very well said. Thank you Dave. I too have spent time speaking in the prisons, in fact have regular correspondence with a few I am mentoring as they navigate the world of drug addiction. They are human, we all are, and everyone needs a chance, just devastating to see what can happen with one life-altering decision.

  4. Love this Jason! Great insight and a great reminder about the choices we can make every day! Thanks for sharing this experience!

    1. Thank you so much Natalie! Someone recently told me they were going to refer me to you for your party 🙂 I said Natalie and I are pals 🙂

  5. Jason, you remain one of the heroes in my life. Thanks for setting such a great example to me and my kids. I am proud to know you. Thanks also for reminding me that my choices matter and to serve with heart. God bless you, my brother.

  6. Love the story and the things it’s made me ponder.

    On the flipside….you do know a puppy is a baby without a diaper, right? 😉 Have fun!

  7. LOVE this story! The courage to run towards an intense and scary situation, the non-anxious presence and calm you exhibited, the self-awareness and humility to acknowledge you’re not any better or worse than another, and the insights gained from this experience. We always have a choice in how we respond; and although you don’t use these terms, I clearly see your growth mindset and desire to keep improving and living into the life you choose to lead. Thank you for sharing!

    1. What a great comment Jen. Thank you so much. We are all working on improving daily hopefully. My best to you and thank you for the encouragement.

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