Tuesday, yeah, that’s when things didn’t go so well!
I’ve led hundreds and hundreds of support groups. They’re a regular part of my schedule and one of the joys of my week. Most nights are great.
That night something was weird at TreeHouse!
It Started Bad
Several teens were mad at me. Why? My responsibility was to create a safe, supportive atmosphere. Support groups with eight teens are common. That night teens split up into a group of eight, a group of twelve, and a group of five.
I stepped in to create a numbers balance. In doing so I also tried to separate some disruptive people — who can be positive contributors, when they’re not with other disruptive people.
A few teens were furious with me. Two told me to “F’ Off”; one SCREAMED it. And, it was not even the teen I already sent home for repeatedly being defiant.
So out of character; something was in the air!
It was hard to work through that, but it got worse.
It Got Worse?
Oh, and did I mention I made a girl cry?
I had no idea that the twenty or so fresh cuts on her arm were a secret. She was wearing a t-shirt and they were in plain sight!
I asked her about them. She ran off. Slammed the door and sat in another room and just HOWLED in pain. How was I to know her carved up arm — in plain sight — was a secret?!?
Is There An Award For Being A Jerk?
Try as I might to listen patiently and love genuinely, sometimes I feel like an epic failure; a jerk. The words of Pearl Jam song “Garden” come to mind:
I will walk…with my hands bound
I will walk…with my face blood
…into your garden, garden of stone
Knowing how to love people — whose wounded hearts are guarded by a garden of stone — is hard. It’s so hard sometimes pain-filled poetry pours out:
It’s hard on a Wednesday
Try as I might
To get up again
And step into the fight
Where is the strength?
Where is the fight?
God, I’m in darkness
Bring power and might
What’s God Bring?
As I write this entry I recall words of Jude I embraced my first year at TreeHouse: “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
– And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
– Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment.
– Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution… 1
– Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. 2
Mysilentscream: Please God help me. I want to help, but sometimes I feel like a failure.
1 – Jude 20-23, NLT
2 – Jude 23, MSG