Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Difference

"There are two ways of exerting one's strength; one is pushing down, the other is pulling up." Booker T. Washington

I had a friend who was labeled violent. He was. He constantly beat people up....smashed things....terrorized everyone. His father had beat and sexually abused him. His uncles did too. When he turned 14 he wanted the power they had....he didn't want to be the victim anyomore. He wanted to be in control....like them. 

He showed up at school one day and attacked a kid.... turned over desks and was labeled violent. Everyone was afraid of him....the kids...the teachers....even the authorities. For the next few years he was in and out of treatment centres.....in and out of psych hospitals....heavily medicated. He couldn't hold down a job or  live on his own. His rage....his temper became his calling card. 

We talked a lot him and I. He told me stuff....stuff from his heart. I found out he could draw like no one else I knew. I wrote a story about a dandelion.....I read it to him. He drew pages and pages of beautiful dandelions....in brilliant color. I saw gentleness in his art...and in him. I saw the human being....the real person. 

I told him me and God believed in him. One day he admitted he didn't want to hurt anyone....he never did. He had just wanted the abuse to stop. He didn't know how to make it stop.....and now he didn't know how to stop being violent.

I never told him what happened to me...I never told him I had been beaten, held and raped. I never told him how much I hated the people who hurt me...and how I lived and breathed that hatred. I didn't even tell him how I unleashed all that hatred on myself......I was just there for him....listening....letting him talk...letting him vent his frustrations...and share his heart.  I started to see more of the the good in him. Others saw it too.  He started trying hard to control his temper and when he couldn't...when he lost it...he started saying he was sorry. 

One day his father came to see him. I was there. It shocked me to see how ordinary he looked...like anyone's father.....not deranged...or perverted or weird....just an ordinary man. But I knew what he had done to my friend. I knew his twisted mind. 

I remember thinking that day....I don't ever want to be like that man...or like my parents....or like the rapist who held me. I never want to hurt anybody. I want to be kind. I want to care. I want to be gentle like how God has been with me. I want to help pull others up...not tear them down. I  just want to make a postive difference....like He did for me. 

27 comments:

Mary said...

And dear Sarah you are making a positive difference! A big one!!

Hugs!!

IK said...

Thank you for sharing that Sarah. My eyes are wet reading that. I am glad that you befriended your friend. It sounds like you had a wonderful impact on him. It's interesting, some people take their hate and anger out on others but some take it out on others. Take care! *hugs* <3

Deborah said...

Sarah, it sounds to me like you are a positive influence for your friend. It is so nice that you can see beyond his anger. You are a very nice person to be able to do this. I am sure feels so blessed to know you.
Blessings, Deborah

Dulce said...

So glad He did... When I read your words... when I see that beautiful white dog of your pic profile... the image I have of you is that of an angel... it's hard to understand you've had such experiences in life.

YES, now I believe we come to this world for one goal to be achieved... and yours you are getting to so well and wisely!
I really admire you , my dear Sarah!
Hugs & blessings!

katie said...

hi sarah, thank you for signing onto my blog, so now i found yours. i really appreciated this post. i can relate to it a lot and it's reassuring to hear your experience. it made me feel very good to read this.

thank you for sharing~

Lloyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lloyd said...

Sarah: Thanks for visiting my blog. May our Lord continue to use you to make a difference in the lifes of those that are hurting. God bless, Lloyd

March 4, 2010 7:48 PM

Pete Hoge said...

Jesus tells me that the prime
virtue is "gentleness and humility".
in the Gospel of Matthew.. that is
how he refers to himself in the passage where he says," my yoke is easy and my burden is light".

If only we could override our
animal natures. We ask God to protect us from our selves.

Pete.

Prayer Girl said...

What a beautiful friend you have been to this violent friend. You have peaked my curiosity and I wonder how he is doing now. He is lucky to have found you for a friend.

PG

rcubes said...

There is a purpose for everything that happens so I pray that your kindness will continue to encourage your friend and turn his violence into something good and useful. It's so easy to label someone. Yet, we forget we don't know the exact cause why they might behave or act like a monster. I think that's good that he was able to vent out with you. He must sense that warmth from you, the kind that he knows he can trust. Praying that he will also learn to trust the Greatest Friend we all can have. Take care sister. You are an inspiration.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

It's amazing how monsters don't often look like them. And some people who look like monsters are really sweet. Appearances really are too deceiving.

Have a great weekend, Sarah!

Andrea said...

Praising GOD for the difference HE is making in and through your life each and every day.
Hugs, andrea

Denise said...

Sweet sis, you are a precious gentle soul, you are making a beautiful difference in this world. I love you.

Shanel said...

It's amazing how God can use our pain as a source to help others and comfort others... this post ALMOST made me cry because I could relate to the pain..... and I am sooooo glad that you turned the bad into something good and that you have chosen not to live a life of hurting people.... I too had to make the same decision.

Elaine said...

your friend must be hurt to be labeled as violent. how nice and sweet you are! sometimes we just need a listener.

Paula said...

Dear Sarah, you are now and were even then a caring and kind soul. It si amazing that you managed to keep this wonderful soul of yours through all these years of pain and pattern. You may not have told him about you but maybe you needed him asmuch as he needed you. Love you so much. Paula

Lily said...

I'm sure you can't even imagine how much you helped him in that time of need. Everyone showed him that he wasn't worth the time and effort to treat the way he wanted to. They abused him, they labeled him, they pushed him away. You sat and listened to him and didn't judge him. You made a positive difference in his life for sure.

Madison said...

I hope he's OK now. There's really no good excuse to be violent. Not one.

NOS said...

Wow, what a powerful story, Sarah. It sounds like you really made a positive impact on his life (and he made a positive impact on you)! Isn't it amazing what we can learn from other people? And from ourselves?

And Sarah, thank you so much for your beautiful comment on my blog. It actually made me tear up (in a good way).

Wishing you well,
NOS

Just Breathe said...

Like reading a book by it's cover.
How does a person learn to trust after something like that.

I have an award for you at my blog.

Wylie @ Shout A Joyful Noise! said...

Praise the Lord! God bless you sweet Sarah! God is so good. He brings so much glory and so much good from even the most painful things. He is using you to break the chains of bondage in others. May you be richly rewarded.
Wylie

Steve Julian said...

One person's hero is another person's monster.
I know of many monsters and many heroes.
Is there redemption in this person? Some will say yes, but what of his acts.
I can offer no judgment this man and that is a cowardly stand. I am unsure these days of what I should think.
Your words are kind but words can be like that, even in an ugly world.

BM said...

Hi Sarah, everyone has issues but not everyone is able to see and be non-judgemental ..

I learn from you all the time what it means to display God's grace of loving.

Peace be with You

BM

Paula said...

Passing by to sho some love. Have a good start into teh week. Hugs and love to you

Heckety said...

And the truly incredible thing is that with God all things are possible- I'm so thankful that God sent someone who found you and brought you to Him so that you could turn everything around for your future.
Going to school in London I met a number of kids who sound like the friend you mention here- its wicked what some people do to children, but its so sad too, all that potential going the wrong way. It is heartening to hear you say you 'just' listened, sometimes that's all that's needed to begin the healing.

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

What you displayed to this individual is simply wonderful. I love reading what God has and is doing in your life. I cannot say it enough, you are such an inspiration to many! (((((((Sarah)))))))

agnitrisha said...

you are an amazing lady.

I have seen it from my personal experience that violent children are always abused children-either at home or outside. But mostly at home. It’s a crying shame for us human beings is not it? There are people among us who are devils skulking inside human skin-worst type of devil. I wonder if devil does these things.