Saturday, September 28, 2013

Damaged Petals

Willy making dinner
This week, two different boys opened up and shared with me things I never knew about them.  Every time I get to hear more of their stories, I am absolutely amazed.  I am amazed that they are still in the home.  I am amazed that they are overcoming their addictions.  I am amazed that they are able to love and trust.  Their stories are so heartbreaking, the stuff you think only happens in movies:  escaping wars, seeing your parents killed by the rebels.  It seems unreal.  But it is their life.  And now here we are, in a home with people that love and adore them, safe.  By no means is our home perfect, but we are making strides every day to be better than we were yesterday.

Moses and little David

One of the most frustrating things to me is when people tell me the boys are stubborn.  They have no idea what these kids have had to face.  Yes, looking at them today, we still have a long way to go but if you knew them 3 years ago, you would wonder how they made it this far.  If you heard their stories, you would wonder how they ever left their drugs and addictions behind.  For some of the boys, I know it was so hard for them to make the choice to stay in the home.  One boy in particular, I thought that the morning after our first night in the home I would wake up and he would be gone.  Some boys I know have to wake up every morning and make the choice to be sober for another day.  Sometimes they are able to make those choices and sometimes not.  But that doesn't mean that they failed or aren't worth the effort.  Eventually, things will get easier for them.  They will think less about their drugs and more about their future.  We are already seeing it happen. 
Richard and Shafik

For years, the only person that these boys had to count on was themselves.  They raised themselves on the streets and grew up way too fast.  They have endured more in their short lives than I probably ever will in 5 lifetimes.  But still people choose to look at their mistakes instead of seeing how far they have come.  Our friend that is staying with us just shared a quote from Tupac that she heard over the summer.  I think that it fits the boys perfectly.

We wouldn't ask why a rose that grew from the concrete has damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, don’t ask me why, thank God, and ask me how.”

One boy in particular, when I met him he was so tough and cold.  I thought he would never love me.  I tried and tried and tried.  After so much time, he finally warmed up to me.  Since we became friends, I have seen him change.  He started to open up to other people too.  Now, even though he is the same tough kid, he has a soft side that he actually shows people.  Now when I see him holding the other auntie’s hand or being friendly with visitors, I appreciate it so much more because I remember how he used to be. 

Abraham with our cook's grand kids
I was encouraged this week by the pastor that comes to the home every week.  He has been with us from almost the beginning.  He told me that he knows God is good and worthy of our praises because he never thought these boys would be where they are now.  He told me that in the beginning they were so much more difficult than they are now. He also told me that people unfairly judge them because if they knew where they came from they would be so impressed. 

Just like Tupac said,  these boys are roses and even though they have some damaged petals, they survived where many of their friends haven’t and came from awful circumstances.  It is amazing that they have made it this far, that they have stayed in the home, gone back to school, are overcoming their addictions and each day are changing a bit more.  We should be thanking God and praising Him for his goodness and faithfulness in bringing the boys this far not pointing out how far they have to go.

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