Wednesday, October 10, 2012

strained | {Day 10}: Keeping it Real

There was a time not too long ago when we lived with eight teenage boys.

I chose to love them, though admittedly I was selfish, pouty and annoyed when they needed something that kept my groom and me apart at night, or weekends, or pretty much all the time. The space those boys rented in his mind was a strain on my willingness to submit.

We believed we could help give them a better chance.

One of the boys would hang out with our then Kindergarten-age, son. He would come over to our private resident family side of the house and they would play together.

This teenage-boy treated our little-boy as though they were brother's. Sometimes he would call my groom, Dad, and me, Mom. He needed the love he knew we could give. Yet he pushed on some days and it hurt.

     We knew his story. At least some of it--
          His father who died two days before his birth.
          He was raised by his single mother.

Knowing this helped to understand his strain.

Here he was, living in a very vanilla community during the academic year to ideally get a better education, and where we have the audacity to say, "Welcome." And he didn't feel it.

I fought for him to see that he really was, welcome. Yet he saw that he wasn't. Not here and not even in the world. Stories and history and real put a strain on his acceptance of love. He judged motives and questioned everything. My authentic was challenged and I was wounded by his accusations.

It's outrageous to think this group of boys is really welcome here in this town, or even in our heart's where we have priorities and cookie-cutter lives.

It's crazy that we could even dare to suggest that we can help.
     Because really, we have not a clue the differences between us and them.

     Or how our very communities contrast.
     Or what's required of us to welcome.

Eventually, these teenage boys from a different city blend in to look like the teenage boys of our own.

     They wear the same clothes and talk the same talk.
     Then they toss their preppy clothes aside when they go to their real home.

     It's survival.

I imagine that their hearts are strained to know who they really are and who they want to be.

I dared to tell that teenage-boy that I was there because I wanted to be. Though, each night I would whine and complain that my groom wasn't giving me, or us, enough attention.

     I had not a clue what being there with them would require of me.

     I wasn't willing to sacrifice my perspective to consider theirs.

Our marriage was strained at times and so were we. The boys pushed and we pulled.

Eventually, our relationships with those boys got to a point where we holed up on our side of the house and we let a door divide us. I'd go to the dinner table, hardly say a word, and then go back to my own little world.

The boy who would sometimes call me Mom challenged my *privilege*.  He judged my color when he was fighting to validate his own. He scorned my young son's interest in becoming a police officer because of his real and I felt my boy's dream being stepped on.

     I fought for naivete and wanted Real shoved out the door.

     I was embarrassed for being Me--for my pride and selfishness--and I didn't know my place.

     I felt sad that we even raised our hands to do this thing, and I wanted to slink back to our corner of quiet.

It was a hard time in our lives. So much of me wanted to leave every single day. And eventually we did, though my heart felt conflicted with feeling shame.

Guilt followed me when we left. I didn't feel as though we did a good job at living roles. And mostly at love. I still don't think we did. We were naive and perfection-expecting and we weren't willing to live strained.

     I wanted to be those boys' savior but they didn't think they needed saving, and maybe they really didn't.

     I just pitied, instead of just loved.

     I wasn't willing to accept how I'd be changed in the process.

     I didn't know what would be required of me.

     I was reaching for fairy-tale-perfect.
     I wanted to be helpful but I couldn't make peace with our differences. 
     I was apologetic for being white and for having the privilege of being holed up in this community. 

     I wrestled with wanting to keep my cookie-cutter life and conform them to my perspective.

     I argued against being labeled as privileged, yet inside I was prideful for this truth.

          (Now I see it isn't a *privilege* to live sheltered.)

Accepting that I can't change a person is necessary for me to live in peace.

Living strained is when things happen. 

Parts of us stay the same, yet we come through the straining refined.

     Sometimes living strained is for them. And sometimes it's for us.

There's power behind *willingness,* even though we may feel incapable.

     It's uncomfortable and awkward...
     We feel like we won't fit in...
     That there's no room for our unique...
     But it's always a good thing. He makes us less and Him more. 

Marriages can be tested.
Our stick-with-it-ness, too.
And mostly our courage to trust in what we cannot see.

     In purpose.

I'm not comfortable living strained. A lot of times I'm embarrassed at my own naivete or inexperience or privilege.

     But He really does bless our willingness.

And though we may be different, we can trust we really will fit through the strain.

: : : 

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1 comment:

  1. Today, I was shooting film here in Haiti and it was so hard to be in that vulnerable spot.

    Then this:

    "There's power behind *willingness,* even though we may feel incapable.

    It's uncomfortable and awkward...
    We feel like we won't fit in...
    That there's no room for our unique...

    But it's always a good thing. He makes us less and Him more. "

    God bless you for ministering to my heart tonight.