Suck dick, Ian! - Omar
This week has been testing. I don't feel angry or vengeful, which surprises me. My main feeling is helplessness.
Some of the behavior going on in our apartment would probably justify some rage. A kid who we have poured a lot of time, food, and energy into, has been bullying other kids. He belittles them, pushes them around, and sets a poor example for all the younger guys. After about eighteen warnings, I kicked him out on Tuesday for first berating another guy then talking back to me when I addressed it.
On Wednesday, in his unmistakable handwriting, the words "Suck dick, Ian!" were written on the wall in permanent marker. Then when some of the girls we work with started putting up posters for a club they've started, this guy and his posse of friends went around tearing them down and writing obscenities on them.
I went out to have a talk with him, and it was totally unfruitful. Any idiot could have predicted that, I guess, but I found it unsettling.
So my knee-jerk reaction is just to keep him out of our program, since he does damage to the other kids and shows nothing but disrespect to the the volunteers, Ruthie, and me.
But yesterday I was thinking about all the testimonies I hear from friends and acquaintances how the deciding factor in turning their life around was one or two people who stuck it out through the rough times.
I think we're called by our Lord's example to have an inexplicable love. I don't think that excludes discipline, but it certainly excludes dismissal. Or even if the afterschool program does not prove to be doable for Omar, at least I can still be a neighbor to him, which is the advantage of living where we live.
Anyway, I'm mostly writing this thing in the blissful morning hours, sitting next to a steaming cup of coffee, in order to brace myself for whatever comes next. Patient love is something I wish I had in greater measure, and I preach about it in order to hold myself accountable for its practice.