The dark-haired woman sees me enter the jail room. Standing up, she flings her cards on the table and tells me, “Don’t even ask.”
We go to another table and sit across from each other. I study her downcast eyes, and wait for an explanation.
“I couldn’t do it. I got lonely and anxious. So I went back to my old friends and habits.” She covers her mouth with her hand while she speaks. But it doesn’t hide her missing upper teeth. I never realized she wears dentures.
I touch her arm, remembering her joyful mood the previous month. We had praised God because she was clean of drugs, leaving jail, and determined to follow Jesus instead of her peers.
She’s not the exception. I’ve watched too many women leave jail with great intentions only to return again and again. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is the culprit. Ruined lives, and families ripped apart, are the collateral damage.
I leave jail despondent. Will these women ever break free of the lifestyle they’ve chosen? Where’s their will power?
Days later, I come home after a long day. I’m alone. Hungry, I open the refrigerator. I don’t want to cook. I’m tired of salads. Looking for leftovers, I open a container of homemade onion dip. My mouth waters as Will Power shouts “Put it back.” But the onion-flavored sour cream lures me like a Greek Siren.
Why not? I’ve been on a strict diet for a month. I’ve lost weight. A few bites shouldn’t hurt.
Instead of spooning small portions of dip and potato chips onto a plate, I grab the bowl and a half bag of chips on my way to the couch.
Will Power warns, “You’ll regret this tomorrow.”
“But it tastes so good tonight.”
One bite, another. I’m hooked. Soon, I’m craving nachos. I cave into desire and smother tortilla chips with melted cheese and fresh jalapenos. If it weren’t midnight, I’d order a pizza.
At bedtime, my breath reeks of onions. I must chew Tums.
Disgusted, Will Power shakes her head. “You knew better. Why’d you do it?”
Groaning, I rub my stomach….
And weep for the dark-haired woman.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do; but what I hate I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:15,18,24,25)