i shouldn’t watch youtube videos at work.
“i’m not going anywhere.”
as i watched this teenager wipe tears from his eyes, i am having to get up and close my office door.
bless his sweet, broken, and bruised heart.
my heart and soul simultaneously weep and cheer for this precious human being who has somehow been made to feel he is worthless. as i reflect on this story, i cry because
…this was my own experience, i just didn’t have a voice to talk about it. from an early age, i never understood why i was adopted, or why my adopted father belittled me, regarded me with so much disdain, and called me sissy, or why i was always the punching bag on the playground, or why kids at school and coaches called me gay, or why my churches’ preacher preyed on me and was allowed to get away with it. the list of insults hurled toward me grew throughout my life.
…of this child’s sheer bravery to say outloud what i did not (and could not) say outloud myself until i was 38 years old and admit to the world that he is strong and that he chooses to survive!
…i have somehow co-raised four courageous sons who have scars and wounds of their own but who live their lives with confidence, strength, and grace. these young men have never, ever found themselves on the side of bullies; instead, i have at one time or another, seen and heard about each of them taking up for kids just like this young man, and now as they are older, other young adults who find themselves outside what society and religion say is ok.
as i grow older and encounter others’ stories like this, i continue to gain insight into my own past:
…remembering what it was like to feel alone and scared…
…reflecting on the smile of the few adults and close friends who always stuck by me during those difficult years…
…realizing that entire time—despite some of the bad choices i made along the way—surviving was exactly what i was doing—and what i have done—my whole life.
like this young man and countless others, i am a survivor, like Jonah: simply because i have a million reasons to be Here.