When you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

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This was written over the course of the past few days. I would just jot down my disjointed thoughts, and then I tried to piece them together in a way that would make sense, without losing the overall feel of what I was trying to say, and I didn’t really expand or elaborate on any of my thoughts, so please keep that in mind as you read. If you would like me to elaborate, leaves comment with what you’d like me to elaborate on, and I will.

The phone rings. I take a deep breath, and pick up the phone and smile as I say “Hello, this is Joel. How can I serve you today?”

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Working is the hardest thing. I find myself at the front desk a lot these days. A place I need to be cheery, a place I need to smile, answer questions, and give hope. Hope I don’t feel. But behind the perfectly plastered smile on my face, my mind swirls with questions. Why? How? Somehow reaching out for understanding that doesn’t seem to come.

Then I read what others say. What the news says. The picture they paint. And I don’t see it. Instead I see someone broken, hurting, and in need of redemption. I don’t feel what society tells me to feel. Instead of anger, hate, rage, disgust, I feel sad, heartbroken, like someone died. And in a way, someone has.

In a way, a lot of people have.

So many people will never be the same. So many lives have had something ripped away from them. Peace, security, trust.

Trust.

And when trust is betrayed, we get angry. But when people are hurt, anger will never heal. Healing will only come when we replace anger with love. Redemption can only come from love. So many people are hurting right now. Spreading anger isn’t going to bring a single one of those people healing. We need to instead let our words be of love and support for everyone. And this love needs to come double from those of us who call ourselves the church. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

Maybe, if we can inject love into the situation, we can see healing come to each of people involved in and surrounding the situation. Maybe we can stop the cycle. Maybe, just maybe, we can actually change people.

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As my mind still swirls, as I find it hard to focus, I find myself asking questions. The worst kind of questions: questions that really have no answer. Questions that can’t be explained. And then the phone starts to ring. Someone comes in needing hope. And so I take all those swirling, twirling, questions and push them down, plaster a smile on my face that I don’t really feel, and answer the phone. And I give hope. Because when you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

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6 comments on “When you give hope to others, you find hope for yourself.

  1. Joel,

    In the first paragraph of this blog post you claim that you are seeking understanding, so allow me to add some perspective for you.

    In your second paragraph you write that you see “someone broken, hurting, and in need of redemption”. You also write that you feel like “someone died”. While you may be misguided for why you are feeling the way that you are, how you are feeling certainly makes sense. The reason you are unable to “see it” and feel like “someone died” is because you are grieving the loss of your friend, and part of the process of grieving is denial. Unless you’ve read/seen something I haven’t, the news outlets have only reported what Jonathan’s involvement was in the community, as well as the evidence police gathered to arrest and criminally charge him. While the reaction of the public may have left a bad taste in your mouth, I hope you realize that the “picture they paint” is the result of receiving the news about the sexual contact your friend had with a 13-year old boy, the frequency of which it occurred, and the images and videos on his computer depicting child pornography.

    What strikes me most about your post is your misunderstanding of the healing process. Unfortunately I also realize that many others share the same sentiment you have, which is that healing “can only come from love”. Love is not the only way to heal. Time heals, understanding heals, acknowledgement heals, truth heals. To suggest that love is the only way to heal is uninformed and may be discouraging and nauseating for people who wish to heal but have no interest in “loving” your friend.

    In closing, I’d like to add to your list of the ways so many people will never again be the same, and that’s by highlighting that your friend slaughtered the innocence of many children, regardless of whether or not they directly came in contact with him or not. For that reason, I’d like to close with a quote about childhood by Dave Pelzer, a victim of child abuse:

    “Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul”.

    Thank you for your time.

    • First, thank you for the comment. I guess I need to clarify a few things, then I’ll get to some of what you wrote. This is a collection of thoughts over a few days, so some of them may seem disjointed, like they don’t fit together. I tried to go back and make it flow without losing the actual thoughts I had. I’ll make an edit to the top of the post to explain that. Also, I’m not trying to deny, or excuse, or say what he did was ok.

      First, the understanding I’m searching for isn’t about my feelings. I know why I feel the way I do. The “reaching out for understanding that doesn’t seem to come” is about the why and the how.

      Second, I understand why the media paints the picture they do. I really do. but my “being unable to see it” has to do with that I don’t believe that as a whole, the decisions someone makes, makes them a bad person. This is a view I’ve held when I’ve heard about similar situations that I’m not as close to. Even there, I don’t see the picture media paints, because the only way someone can do something like this is if they are broken, hurting and in need of redemption.

      Yes, I feel like someone died, and I know why. It’s because the view I had of him, the person as a whole who he was, I’ll never know, never see again. So a part of him died. And a lot of people died because each person who knew him, who trusted him, lost something too. And so a part of each of us has died.

      Third, regarding the healing process, I want to address that in pieces, because I disagree with some of the things you say heals, and others I say would lead back to love:
      a) The idea of “time heals”. Time only heals because time allows us to process through, and get through the healing process. Time itself does not heal. You can heal in days from something, or live 100 years and never heal, if you don’t actually try and heal.
      b) Understanding heals. I want to quote Orson Scott Card from “Ender’s Game”: “I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.” So yes, understanding heals, because understanding brings with it love.
      c) Acknowledging heals. yes, I would say that acknowledging the hurt is the first step to healing, but only because if you don’t acknowledge that you have been hurt, you can never heal. But acknowledging is only the firs step. Then you understand, seek the truth, and both of those have an element of love.
      d) Truth heals. I agree, but I think the truth about someone, about something, again is founded in understanding. Now, if you haven’t figured it out, I come from a strong christian standpoint. And to me, the idea of Truth (with a capital T) comes only from God. So to see the truth about someone means that you view this person the way that God views them. Which means that despite their mistakes, their faults, you still love them.

      Lastly, I know that a lot of innocent were “slaughtered”, as you say. I know that, I don’t deny it. Healing is needed for all the people that Jonathan was close to. Because there is a piece of innocence that was taken from everyone. My heart goes out to the boy and his family. I grieve with them over an innocence lost. I mourn with them over a sacred trust that may never be restored. I pray with the community that they will find peace, healing, and wholeness through the whole ordeal.

  2. I think anger has it’s place in this situation, Joel. Evil was done. Isn’t that cause for outrage? But I think that anger can serve a purpose. Anger and love aren’t polar opposites and anger and hate don’t always go hand in hand.
    Beyond that, I agree with what you’ve been saying the past couple of days and I grieve with you for our lost friend.

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