My heart has been heavy today. I've been tutoring students through our school district since about October and I have been blessed with a steady flow of kiddos ever since I started. Unfortunately for them, lately, it has meant that they've done something stupid to earn an expulsion. When I was first presented with the idea of tutoring 7th and 8th grade boys that had been expelled, I cringed. I'm not gonna lie. I roll-played all the possible things they could say to me and what I would respond with, but much to my surprise I have learned that they're all just kids still. Kids that made mistakes. Some of them are resentful, others, not so much... nonetheless, I've identified my role in their lives, and that is to hopefully bring a little bit of sunshine to not-so-sunny situations.
Today, I went to the office to tutor and bumped into a former student's grandmother. I've been lucky to know this family since my first year of teaching and I've had two of their kiddos in my own class over the past five years. Although their situation is far from normal (for lack of a better term), and although choices have brought certain circumstances that are indescribable, I can't help but think about how BIG our God is and how much he cares for everyone of them.
This Grandma informed me that yesterday, her grandson, who is twelve years old, attempt to take his own life because he wanted to be dead that bad. Thankfully 24 anti-depressants wasn't enough to make his small body stop working, and evidently he reacted by throwing most of it up, but the idea that his life is not worth living is completely unfathomable to me. I have no idea what it is like to want to die. I have no idea what it is like to be alone. I have no idea what it's like to be twelve and not even have a mother. I have no idea what it would be like to have gone through a quarter of what he has experienced in his life that is less than half as short as mine. No. Idea.
What I do know is that this boy is angry. Angrier than anyone I have ever met. Nothing and no one has made him show resentment and he is bound and determined to not give in. He shows respect to no one, not even his frail grandmother. He is the epitome of a little boy playing tough guy.
I asked his Grandma if he was taking visitors at the hospital and she said he was. My student this morning happened to cancel at the last minute, so I said a prayer and drove up to the top of the hill. I wanted him to know that someone cares. I wanted him to know that he's loved and I wanted him to know that people are praying for him.
The most heart breaking part? He was all alone. He lives in a tiny house with almost a dozen other people and he was all alone in a white, cold hospital bed. He responded almost exactly how I thought he would... barely any eye contact when I first got there. I just started with some small talk and he responded with a few one word answers. Within a few minutes he was commenting on things and carrying on in small conversation. We were interrupted shortly with a mental health employee who wanted to speak with him alone. I took it as my cue to leave, but made sure to tell him that I'm looking forward to seeing him next week to start tutoring and that I am praying for him.
And I am. My heart is pleading with God to work a miracle in his heart. Because he needs nothing short of that. I can say with confidence one of three things will happen in this boy's life: 1) He will be dead at a very young age. 2) He will be in prison (for a long time) before he is an adult. 3) God will work a miracle in his life and his heart will soften.
I pray every time he comes to mind that it will be the last of those things. Our God IS that big. He's bigger than every single one of this boy's problems. I'm reminded of my favorite song (right now ;). I can't find a decent YouTube video of it that's any shorter than this (and the video doesn't do anything, but show the same picture over and over - the song ends after about 6 minutes), but you get the idea.
One of my favorite lines is, "We are his portion and He is our prize. Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes."
I pray he finds this grace!
On that note, I'm hugging my children a little tighter today, and holding them a little longer. I pray that they will grow to know just how much our God loves them, and that they will be able to share that with everyone they come in contact with.
I can't leave you without any sweet pictures, so here's how we spent our afternoon yesterday!
Don't even get me started on this girl's style these days!!!
I suppose it's pretty minor in the grand scheme of things! ;)