It's the first week of October, which means it's time for another Random Journal Link-up
Unfortunately I'm late to the game because we've been in technology-free zone around here. We had our carpets cleaned yesterday, so cleared out furniture Friday (including router, modem, do-hickeys, and thing-a-ma-jiggies), and put said stuff back today. We only have carpet in one room (plus the area rug in the living room) but that's exactly the room where all that jazz lives. Thus, here I am on Sunday night with two posts in my mind...
But first this one, culled from a journal in 2005. The great disadvantage of all these identically colored journals is that I can't tell if I've already picked this edition before. But it likely doesn't matter.
Monday, February 1, 2005
Dinner tonight at the home of one of Beve's students. The most disturbed student he's ever had, Beve said afterwards. It was strange and sad and heart-wrenching. There was his mother, a sweet, dear Ukrainian woman, and there was V, a profane, disrespectful, hard boy. She'd cooked for days to show her thanks to all the adults who have worked so hard and cared so much for her troubled son. He walked into the apartment and started swearing, passed a photograph of his younger self, flipped it upside down, then closed himself in his room--where he hasn't been in a month.
So we sat at her table and ate a lavish, amazing feast. Far too much food, but very, very tasty and his mother kept bringing more, serving more, never once sitting with us because her service itself was also a thank-you. By the time she placed dessert on the table, V finally joined us and for a few moments, there was a window of the real boy inside him as he talked about the birds at the home where he's now living. Smiling, almost laughing as he talked of how these dozens of birds live IN the house and fly all over the place. But then he had to leave--before he wanted to--and the window slammed shut behind iron bars of angry profanity again. It was scary. He didn't care who was in the room, who he had to beat his head against. When he finally gave in and left, I was actually surprised--I'd never imagined that acquiescence was possible.
No wonder his mother's constantly on the verge of tears. What kind of fear is that of a mother?
Beve says this boy's career goal is to be a sniper. And that students cheered when he was removed from a class, and that he painted his face and yelled obscenities in a courtroom.
I wonder what will happen to him. Will we hear his name on the 6 o'clock news?
But tonight, just as Beve was about to drift off to sleep, he said that something about this boy reminds him of [my brother] A. I shudder now, while Beve's already into the deep REM cycle. I have often wondered if I'll read about him in the paper--still--or hear his name in the news.
And I've never known how to pray for my brother. So most of the time--ninety-nine% of the time, I don't even try. I shouldn't admit this. But it's true. It's just too hard. No, that's not quite it. It's that I don't actually believe that anything will change. If I'm honest, I actually think A's beyond change. Beyond hope. That's where I have to start.
Why do I think I'm worth more than A? No, it isn't that I think I'm worth more, or even that A isn't worth enough to save. I absolutely believe he's worth enough. And that he's loved, fully and completely, by God, the TRIUNE! What is lacking is not God's love for A, but my love for him.
Generally speaking, this could be the lack in most, even all, of my prayers for others. My lack of belief is predicated on my lack of love for the person I'm praying for, more than a lack of faith in God. Of course I have real faith issues--who doesn't?--But those are different than this. To be clear, let me put it this way: I list the names of those people I feel least certain God will change, it would correspond pretty closely with a list of those I have most trouble loving.
Resurrection power, the power, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is mine--available via the Holy Spirit to love through me, create love in me, believe and be faithful to pray. That power to love. I ask for that tonight, Lord. As I sleep, be awake and working through the watches to love more than I can, to put to death the Carolyn who cannot love and does not pray.
LOVE in me.
LIVE in me.
A note--the brother I write about in this post died three years after it was written, un-reconciled to our family. However, by the time I preached his memorial service, there was no question that God loved him through me.