I walked out the door for the last time. 1 year, 710 hours and 100’s of clients later, the curtain had closed at my internship.
(to hear this video you will have to scroll to bottom of page and pause music on the player)
It had happened slowly and subtle…the desensitization to the poor and addicted, living in white privilege ignorance, and the steeling of my heart and mind against mental illness as if bipolar disorder or depression could be caught as easily as a common cold. The world I operated in wasn’t bad, actually it was pretty good. I had invested my life in college students and staff with CRU, but had created a bubble in which I had become encapsulated. The poor and oppressed did not exist in my world apart from the occasional gift to Show Hope or praying for Uganda. I didn’t really know anyone in my circle dealing with addiction. The bubble needed to be pricked and pricked it was. You wanna find Jesus? Find hurting people. He is there.
* I walked around in a state of shock for about the first six months. People really lose their children over drugs? Women are raped and due to the oppression they do not report it? Clients and their children have no food, yet I have a casserole in my fridge that would feed 5 and yet due to ethics codes I can not share? What do you mean you don’t have a place to sleep? How come your son and brothers get pulled over every time they pass a cop and I don’t? So you are telling me that you want to get clean but have no support? I’m so sorry your husband beats your daughter. Do you think you could walk to the end of your driveway today so you can work on leaving your house without a panic attack? Is your voice being heard? What does God think of you? I see you. I see you long for connection, yet struggle so deeply with it.
The unveiling the face to see who is in front of us is a priceless and sacred gift. The invitation to “with”ness is irreplaceable. Recently a dear friend of mine suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage. A mutual friend referred to sitting shiva during a time of mourning. Shiva is part of the Jewish custom of mourning. It is a 7 day period after a loss in which the family members are directly present.
” Loss of someone that is a direct relative often produces great grief, where even if you tried you could get very little done. To honor this, direct-family mourners do not try to get anything done. They do not bathe, work, engage in pleasurable activities, or try to distract themselves with anything. Focus is on feeling the pain and grief of losing someone.” – taken from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-sitting-shiva-mean.htm
If anything, I have learned as my friend Rachel says, “to sit shiva” with hurting people who I once was desensitized to…..Thank you, Jesus.
At the end of every group session we always stand in a circle, hold hands and say the serenity prayer. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. (and we add) Just for today.” And perhaps the most pivotal moment for me was the realization that I was holding hands with a pedophile in desperate need of my attention and presence. Only Jesus. To HIM be all the glory. My heart is full.