It’s about space…

So yesterday we had two visitors that don’t show up that often but when they do, it makes for an interesting time. The one girl, she has come to the teen center on and off for two years. Her story is a tragic one. Lost her brother in a traffic accident, have tried to dull the pain from that with drugs and other not so helpful stuff. She dropped out of school but not because of lack of intelligence. This girl is super sharp, very witty, she is now working. When she comes to the teen center she wants to talk. She comes when life has handed her something complicated, and her life choices at times aren’t the best. She said yesterday that she thinks about the teen center and the staff there, every day and she now wants to start a group where older teens could sit in a circle and help each other with important decisions. So where does space come in? Well, we choose to not engage with certain things. Things like language, music, dress, and attitude. If I would have stopped listening to this girl because of her language, I would have never learned her story, I would have never become part of her story. If I would have only focused on and engaged with her attitude and the music she listen to, I would have never gotten the time to earn her trust. Because of a very open space, where teens are free to say just about anything and share anything, we have earned their trust, they know beyond any shadow of a doubt that they won’t be judged, or shamed, or ridiculed. It’s almost like confession. This girl comes maybe once a month for some sort of confession. It’s like she needs someone to see her life, her real life, the good , the bad, and the ugly and she has chosen us, because she knows its safe and that we will do anything to help her. I think she knows she is loved.

The other girl, she has the worst mouth I have ever encountered. I worked construction for 6 years. This girl beats any rough construction worker I have ever met when it comes to language. Your first impression of this girl would be that she is tough as nails. Rumor has it that she is a cold hearted bitch, ready to fight at the drop of a hat. If we would have engaged with any of that, like kicked her out because of language or threats, her hyper sexual stories, her love of violence, we would have never gotten to know the really sweet, scared, wounded little girl that lives under all that rough exterior. She does a similar thing as the first girl I shared about, she comes to the teen center about once a month, often with the girl in the first story, and if no one is there but the staff, she is softer and gets to the point, usually boyfriend problems or family problems, quicker. If there are other teens there, she does her usual hard core thing to keep them away. I’ll never forget this one time, she wouldn’t come inside, I think because she was a little high on pot, but I went outside to say hi and when she saw me she ran up and gave me a hug calling me dad. Everyone laughed and thought it was funny, that she was joking, but when she was done hugging me, her face said something else. She was home. With her family and sadly enough, it was not her mom and dad, it was the teen center and the staff there. 

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~ by Rickard on March 21, 2008.

3 Responses to “It’s about space…”

  1. Sounds like holy ground you have there, Rickard. Happy Easter.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Maria and yes, there are times when I walk in to the teen center in the morning and get completley overwhelmed. In so many ways there’s nothing special with our teen center. What I think is so special is finding out that God is already at work in the lives of these teens, just like they are, God is so full of grace and mercy.
    Happy Easter to you and yours as well

  3. I love hearing your stories. It overwhelms my heart. May God richly bless you my brother.

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