The first meeting of “A Welcoming Place” takes place Wednesday at St. Luke’s at 6:30 p.m., for loved ones and caregivers of people with substance abuse. Find out more here.

By Bob Houghtaling

Everyone they are sleeping
The evening’s so very still
It’s three o’clock in the morning
As I stand before the sill
You didn’t come home today
Or the two before
While the doors have all been locked
I’ll wait up at least till four

My thoughts in sunlight’s absence
They journey to the past
Memories of your childhood
But such times would not last
You are out there somewhere
Paying a burdensome cost
Those marks on your arms
Detail life’s moments lost

Crickets play an eerie tune
A chorus for those alone
Yet we are not so far apart
Only you are getting stoned
I’m told to play the tough guy
I’m told to let you go
Like I did one winter’s chill
In a car draped in snow

Surely there must be reasons
But they are of little use
Especially when engaging
With clichés from the obtuse
So you stare out the window
Bargaining with distant hope
That my boy will come home again
Despite all of the dope

Interventions have been many
Solutions so very few
One thing I keep hearing
No one knows what to do
At a cost of many thousands
All of those diagnoses galore
I’m here in my pajamas
Waiting at the door

Reality wins another round
When I lay down to nod
Jesus must be sleeping too
And I’m still waiting for God
Soon morning sun will rise
Evening fades from my view
But all through life’s waking hours
Dad’s heart aches for you

Mercy is often granted
For those sick and needing care
However, many suffering from addiction
Receive judgments quite unfair
Scorn, death and prison
All harpies for a disease
That is deeply misunderstood
Awaiting a moment’s ease

Everyone has their opinion
Coming from side to side
Despite those great intentions
The truth is not denied
Gazing at Heaven’s portal
Where loneliness abounds
Only surrenders loving mercy
Is where we’ll all be found

Many stare through their darkness
Searching for a guiding light
Some do so in the daytime
Others late at night
Yet solace, it comes slowly
Slipped on like a glove
Perhaps only Angels know
You’ve shared the deepest love