Mother killed in a car wreck, but he survived
Given acid by a 40-year-old man
Mother died of cancer
Cut her arms
Father beat him
Father smoked pot in front of him
Parents didn't want him, moved between extended family
Pretty sure parents were making meth
Mom was in jail
Father pinned his over 6-ft tall frame to the wall and screamed in his face
Moved about every six months to avoid bill collectors
Mother missed a meeting with the school because she was drunk
Dad in jail
Couldn't bring himself to read The Outsiders because it's too much like his own life
No one wanted to sit by her, not even the teachers
Dad took him to the bar, gave him a cup of quarters to play video games in the family room while he partied all weekend -- every weekend
Restraining order against her mother
Only got to eat at school
Mother told him he was stupid
Restraining order against his father
She hung on the guys because that's the only love she's ever known
Father committed suicide
Locked in his room
These thirteen to fifteen-year-olds have floated into my life around August and then left about June. I rarely ever get to see them again.
I taught in special education for over ten years. There were nights that the heartache I would carry home would be almost too much to bear. His or her name tumbling over my lips in whispered prayers as I'd make dinner or fold the laundry. And not just for the kids, but their families too.
I knew that was the best thing I could do for them. Pray. But also to be a gentle light in their world of darkness. Talk about bowling and fishing and cosmetology with them. Speak a few words of hope to his mother. Tell her father about her strengths.
I moved to teaching English this year and a few more were added to the list. My heart is weary for them. It's their face, especially their eyes that get me. At times, I can hardly spit out the lesson when I see their eyes. Sometimes they're blinking back tears and I can barely hear the whispered, "...today's just not my day." Another's eyes stare right through me, grey-faced, lost in painful thought and yet, protected by it's veil at the same time.
There are a some of my dear colleagues that also pray for these young lives. However, many others seem to able to just acknowledge the situation with a "That's too bad" and move on. There are times when I wonder if I need to toughen up, not worry about it. I mean, really, what difference can I make?
And the more I think on it... I'm right. I can't make a difference. Not without the power of Christ that lives within me. And it's not just me. It's me joining forces with all the others that chose to stop instead of turning away. We by the power of Christ make the difference.
Those looks from these kids strike a deep chord in my heart...not pity.