I live in an affluent community. Believe me, I bring the average down in every category but, still, there are some heavy hitters in my midst. Or it appears that way.
Younger Son has hung out since early elementary school days with a boy I'll call A.P. He has always been unusually cute and unusually polite. I have always suspected an Eddie Haskell lurking behind the "yessirs" and "no-sirs" but gosh, you can't help but really like the boy.
A.P. has enjoyed a higher standard of living than Younger Son. He has always been the first with the newest and best video game systems and has never had to choose between, say, a Nintendo or PlayStation. He has them all.
His parents drive the latest model luxury cars and they take great vacations. They pulled A.P. out of public shools a few years back and now send him to an exclusive private school.
They recently moved out of an already very nice home and moved into one that is over the top, even by this community's standards. The first time I delivered Younger Son there my mouth stood agape. Younger Son reported that the inside was a sight to behold.
I have never known A.P.'s parents well but they seemed nice enough. Although they appeared to be "conspicuous consumers," they were very down-to-earth when it came to casual conversation. I've inquired about Mr. P.'s occupation, only to be told he is "in investments." Obviously he had invested very well, I thought.
Today it was reported that A.P.'s dad attempted suicide a couple of days ago. He had recently filed for bankruptcy and investments he had supposedly made for clients had mysteriously disappeared. He appears to having been building a house of cards that has now collapsed.
I am sick over it. Sick for A.P., not only that he will have to learn about his dad having been involved in some shady business dealings, but also that he tried to end his own life. I also dread having to tell Younger Son about it, who has always come home from A.P.'s house talking about how nice and how much fun Mr. P. is.
This has also made me wonder: what really goes on behind the doors of those lavish estate homes that are so prevalent in our community? Are there other stories like these out there?
What has A.P.'s dad's life been like the past few years? Did he know these chickens would come home to roost or did he think he could somehow make it all work out all right? Did he ever think maybe it was just time to come clean?
I read a book a long time ago called The Hiding Place, about two sisters who were captured and put into Nazi concentration camps. Their faith sustained them and one of the most poignant lines is, "There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still."
My prayer for A.P.'s family today is that somehow, some way, they will find Him at the bottom of this hideous pit, that they can rebuild their lives and start over. It will take nothing short of a miracle, but they can happen.