My office in Houston, Texas was fairly large, as I shared it with our part-time nurse Amelia. I was busy trying to rearrange both of our desks and the filing cabinets, etc. when Greg (a beneficiary of the program) came in said it was his day off and asked if he could help me. About 1:30 we had finished moving the big items, it was then Greg asked me for a pass so he could report to his Probation Officer.
He returned to the center about 4:30 just in time for supper. Before, going into the dining room he stopped by to say hi! He appeared to be high so I asked him to report to my counselor Ed for a urine specimen. He was very amiable and willing to do so and went to Ed’s office. After supper and Tuesday evening chapel, Ed and I tested the urine sample. I in fact had been right as the test showed Greg positive for cocaine. At that point, he was terminated from the program. It all seemed surreal because he was smiling the whole time.
The next day I called and informed his probation officer as to what had occurred. She had placed him in the program and he had signed a release for any information on him to go to her. For a couple of days, I wondered just why he had come back into my office, knowing that I would probably suspect something. Then, on Friday morning his probation officer came to see me, Greg had already visited her and was in the Harris County jail, having admitted using cocaine, and was awaiting trial.
She brought along a subpoena that he was requiring me to testify in court about his termination and drug test. As a certified professional counselor that is the one thing most dreaded; because of the Federal Confidentiality Act and our professional code of ethics. I already felt badly about having to notify the probation department of this even though he should have known it would happen. I asked her why he would want me to testify I could only hurt his case. She said, she had asked him that question and he would only say that he really needed and wanted me there. I spent the next few weeks thinking about and dreading that day, the day I went to court.
The morning of court when I arrived at the courthouse in downtown Houston, I was escorted into a private hearing room, with a long table and chairs. The judge, probation officer, lawyers, court reorder, and I were the only people in the room. I was given a seat at the center of the table. Shortly thereafter, Greg was brought in by a police officer. He was seated at the end of the table. He smiled at me and nodded hello.
The reason for the hearing was stated and almost immediately I was asked to testify. All the time I spoke Greg just looked at me nodding his head up and down and actually grinning! At the end of the proceeding, he was sentenced to three years in prison. After the hearing, he asked if he could be allowed to speak to me. The judged said yes, and at that time he said he was so glad to see me and asked me to say hello to several men in the center. He never said a word about the sentence. I told Greg I was so sorry and his response was “Oh, it is okay.” Needless to say, I left the courthouse feeling very confused and upset; I had just ensured another human being would be behind bars for up to three years.
Two weeks later, the probation officer called me and said she thought she could explain why he wanted me to testify against him in court. She stated that they had just located a warehouse full of methamphetamine equipment, and that it was rented in Greg’s name. She felt that he had stolen the equipment and was trying to hide from some drug dealer, gang, etc. and that his only means for survival was to get back in the prison system. This alleviated some guilt on my part, but saddened me also that Greg’s only option or the only one he could see was prison or death.
Sitting here ruminating over this story, I have to believe God truly does, in sundry mysterious ways, use us for His good, this may have saved Greg’s life.