you can’t save everyone

I look into my friend’s eyes as I opened my mouth, “you can’t save everyone,” I tell her as her tears come down relentlessly. I get up to walk away but not before telling her “you did everything you can, it’s now up to him.” We all have been there before when we tried to “save” a friend or family member. We offer help endlessly, but the opposite party doesn’t change or accept our offers. Not everyone is meant to be saved by us and we’re not meant to saved everyone that comes into our lives.

A few years ago, I tried helping the same person. Once upon a time we were friends, the three of us, then that friendship was broken between him and me. His name is Jacob. There was many things happening in his life and it was affecting our friendship. His wife ran away leaving him with their son, he lost his job, became addicted to tobacco, lost his house, and basically lost his way. Not to mention he is on bad terms with his parents, because they now have custody of his son. I remember him coming to me crying and saying that he needed to change and a new job. I gave him resources and even places I knew that were hiring. When he needed a ride to work, I would give offer him one and sometimes pick him up and drop him off at wherever he was staying. That didn’t work out though, he couldn’t stay working at one place long enough. He stayed for a few days and then quit. It was a non-stopping cycle until I finally had enough. I remember telling him that if he wasn’t going to help himself then I no longer will help him. Additionally, I told him that he still owes me $20 and that I hated how he used my money to buy cigarettes instead of buying a gift for his son’s birthday, which was his original intent of borrowing my money.

Jacob and I no longer were friends, but he and Savannah still was. Moreover, Savannah always had a one sided love with Jacob and he knew that. After graduating high school, Savannah join the US Marines. She became a great woman. We see each other time to time and I have been keeping her updated with Jacob until I decided to cut all ties with him. That was when I told her he was hopeless and helpless. Nonetheless, she still kept in touch with him and give him a little bit of money when he asked for it. Eventually she helped find him job in which he lasted for two whole years. Everything seems like it was going great, Jacob eventually gave me back the $20 he owes me through Savannah. However, she voiced her concerns because he was not cutting back on the smoking, drinking, and that some of his new friends were on drugs. She was worried about him. I told her to stop wasting her time because it seems like he is not going to stop and help himself anytime soon. A few months go by and we come to the scene at the beginning of this post. Savannah shows up in front of my house unannounced in tears. Everyone in my family has gone to work and already except for me and my two younger siblings.

I don’t need to know what happened.”

“I don’t understand. Why does it has to happen?”

“He’ll come around one day. Hopefully before it’s too late.”

“I really thought he was changing for the better. Once again this just proves how stupid I am.”

“You can’t save everyone. So stop blaming yourself. You did everything you can, so now it’s up to him.”

“Once again you were right.”

“I know I am not always right, but also I’m never wrong.”

“I hate you.”

“I know. You hungry?”

A few days ago I pulled into Walmart and saw him. He was standing in the cold holding a sign that reads “Homeless and jobless. Any spare change will be great help. God bless you.” After the short shopping trip, I grabbed $60 from my purse and put it inside an envelope that I had crunched up. I found a pen and a scrap of paper. Quickly, I scribbled a few words and put it inside the envelope. I hand it to my sister, along with the food from McDonalds, a rotisserie chicken and bag of Hawaiian rolls. Then, I told her to go give it to the man as I take the cart full of our stuff to my car.

“Can you do me a favor?”

“What is it Savannah? You know I can do anything as long it’s nothing crazy and wild.”

“When you see Jacob again can you tell him that when he decides that he needs help, he can always come to me. Also, here is $60 to pay him back when he lent me money for that New York trip back in high school. He never wanted me to pay him back, so I never bother. But now, I guess he might need his $60 back.”

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