I spend my days with kids who are unruly, defiant, oppositional; who are wounded in ways the world cannot easily see. I usually find something to like, even love about these kids. However there is one kid with whom I am struggling. He is hostile, crude, sly, salacious and downright cruel. I have read his history, it is not pretty or kind. He was born into a family of violence and abuse. He has had the odds against him his whole life. I try to be kind, empathetic, caring but he rejects my attempts. He doesn't let me in and won't talk. Only one other time have I encountered someone like this. I pray for and about kids like these.
In contrast I spent yesterday at a statewide church sponsored talent show. I watched as teen after teen sang about God, Jesus, their longing for grace and mercy. I watched parents cry and smile and cheer their kids on. I watched as families and friends hugged, held hands, prayed together and celebrated both wins and losses. I watched kids cheer each other on, support each other, love each other. I watched people being vulnerable and real, unguarded and open.
I couldn't help but contrast these weekend kids with my weekday kids.
I saw the stark contrasts so clearly: family support vs family rejection. Love vs disdain. A life of the spirit vs a life of the flesh. I thought about how my teen years could have been different if I had not been born into a loving supportive family. How my nieces and nephews and their children could have turned out if my siblings and I had not shown them love and support.
And it hurt. It made me both incredibly grateful and incredibly sad. Honored and humbled. It made me want to show kids that there is love in the world. That there is hope and healing.
Monday, January 2, 2012
I used to love New Years. As a teenager and well into my twenties, I would spend New Year's Eve with my mom and sometimes her sisters and brother. If we did the family thing, we would stay up telling ghost stories while eating pinto beans and cornbread my uncle Hoss made. Of course after I moved to NYC, I didn't make it home very often for New Years Eve.
On one particular New Years Eve, I kissed one of my best friends and everything changed. We fell in love in that moment. It didn't make sense, it wasn't on my list and I never expected it to be him. He was my friend. I did not want to wreck that relationship. After 24 years, we haven't. It has been stressful at times. We have been through so much, losing family, friends, pets and our home. I almost lost him to cancer last year. But through it all we held on. Yes, we have had days when we really didn't like each other very much. Where we have shouted angry words to each other and stormed out. But we have always calmed down and come back to each other. We are more than just husband and wife. We are BFF's.
Since that kiss we have not shared another New Years with anyone. It has become our private party. We treat ourselves to fancy snacks and a quiet night. We toast in the New Year and then go to bed. Over the years it has gotten harder to stay awake. This year we lost ourselves in a Harry Potter marathon. We had not read the books nor seen all the movies. Then this year I read the first book and was hooked. Suddenly I wanted to see all the movies and then read the books.
So for Christmas I received all the movies.
They are wondrous. That such a world could come from one person's mind amazes me. That the stories are not really about wizards and witches, but about the magic healing power of Love. Love that goes on forever. Love that lives in our hearts. Love that connects us all, the weak and the strong, the good and the bad, the human and the world...
There is so much more in the story than I realized. I am glad we started 2012 focusing on a Love that shines in the darkest places, a love that redeems us and heals us. A love that never dies... A love that I share with others but most importantly that I share with my husband.