In his own way I really do believe Walter tried.
But, it just didn't work out. Or, at least, it hasn't worked out yet. Chances are it never will work out for Walter here.
I've noticed this across the years in the city.
People try and fail.
They try again and fail.
For some, success comes only after moving on or changing the scenery of their lives.
This may be the case with Walter. I hope so.
If you've been dropping in here over the past year or so, you've read about my friend Walter on a couple of occasions. A brutal combination of drugs, a highly dysfunctional relationship with a woman (who was also an addict), terrible family history and a highly developed gift of denial drove my friend into the ground.
The sad thing about Walter is the fact that he tried, at least in his own mind and in this own way, he tried.
Over the past two months I've had several conversations with him. A number were after his landlord (our property manager of one of the buildings we own in inner city Dallas) informed him that he would need to find another place to live.
Walter and his "wife" had been granted free rent for two months while they got themselves "on their feet"--or, at least, that was the plan.
After the grace period was used up, the expectation was that they would pay rent like everyone else in the complex. They never did.
My last installment here on Walter reported that he had separated himself from the woman and the relationship that was killing them both.
Unfortunately, by the time he took this action, he had managed to alienate and threaten most of the people who lived around him in the apartment complex. Other residents threatened to leave due to his troublesome behavior.
His efforts at work and earning a living were spotty at best. He did manage--better, he claims to have managed--to save up about $500 since the landlord refused to accept payment for back rent and now intends to evict him.
When I talked to him last week, I encouraged him to use the money he had to lease another place. He said that was his plan. We will see, I suppose.
Walter could have made it had he been more honest, worked harder and not allowed himself to be bound up with his woman partner. But then, had he been able to pull that off his life would have been completely different from the start and it would most likely have had a different outcome.
Walter illustrates the difficulty of what we are attempting here. He also shines a bright light on how inept we are so often.
His life also points up the fact that we need more systemic, community resources to bring to our efforts. Walter needed, and likely still needs, treatment for his drug habit. He needed work skills training. He needed a sound plan for housing. In short, he needed more help than we had available to offer him. Much of what he really needs is simply no longer available in Texas.
As people of faith and action, we need to change this present reality.
That said, Walter is not done. I hope he finds his way. I hope I have a chance to continue to talk to him. Time will tell.
This is really hard.