What could I have done?

This week, I was reminded of something I saw when I was 22, and wish I hadn’t. More than not wanting to see it, I wish I could go back and change what I didn’t do.

I worked in a treatment center for troubled teens.  I wanted to save them from the world that hurt them.  I wanted to erase the pain that attached itself to their souls.  It overtook them, and they walked around, drowning. I was young and naive. I thought I could change things.

Saturday night was movie night.  Instead of watching good movies, where  evil loses, the center would let the teens choose.  They chose movies about homicides, drugs, and desperation. How did this make sense to ANYONE? Advocating for what was right, my pleas were dismissed.  Standing strong, as strong as I could at 22 in this darkness, I stayed, and kept trying.  Unfortunately, I grew weary too quickly, and I gave up too soon.  I walked away, affected, scarred. Each one of their names is in my mind, their lives, their pain.  Forever. It felt like I let them down.

Moving on, a new job, another facility.  This time I only last two days.  Instead of being there for them, I walked away, again.  It was just too much.  I was just too young. There was just too much pain.

If I could go back, I would.  To the moments with the teens.  I would give them hope.  I would be strong, to help them through their pain.  I wouldn’t have given up on them.

All grown up now, I realize that pain is everywhere. Sadness. Heartache.  Loss.

We can’t escape it.

Until… the day it’s over.

We have a promise.  Hope.

The sadness, heartache, and pain are all just temporary.  This world is temporary.

When I think about the teens, I try not to see them where I left them.  I try to see them somewhere greater, somewhere that healing took place, somewhere that they found hope.

If we are all here, each one for a uniquely specific purpose, and we seek to fulfill that purpose, we have a mission.  We must look past the pain – acknowledge that it is there, and that it somehow has a purpose, but don’t allow it to devour or overtake us.

We must ask for guidance, and listen for it, eyes wide open.


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