Friday, June 11, 2010

Taking it on the chin

I was assaulted yesterday. Not by a stranger, by one of the boys.

During breakfast, after being told that he was not allowed to enter the kitchen without permission (a house rule that he knows well) he became extremely angry and threw a cereal bowl in my face. He was at such close proximity that it struck me on the jaw.

Cereal Bowl - 1 Luke - 0

I never had any illusions about the nature of this work and about living with and helping children who are broken in a million different ways. I can deal with bite marks and bruises - they eventually fade (or, as Winehouse wrote, "tears dry on their own"), but a psychological line is crossed when blood in drawn and I have never been assaulted before.

After he left the kitchen, we locked the door as a precautionary measure in case he returned with a knife. I then carefully made my way through the house and up to my bedroom.

Sitting in that upper room, alone, my loneliness and sense of isolation was never more acute. Sometimes I hear people say that working amongst the poor (especially poor children) is "rewarding" but I think that is the least accurate description I can imagine right now.

Still no sensation in my lower jaw. It feels like a bad day at the dentist (sorry Mr Pritchard).

Like being the only person on one side of the train platform when there is crowd on the opposite side, I ask myself: Am I going in the right direction?


Christine said...

Hang in there Luke. As the saying goes, we hurt the ones we love the most. You are doing a wonderful thing with these boys. I am sure that there is at least one boy out there who is alive and better because of you and your guidance and passion.

Luke said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Christine. I have come to realise that the boys in care find it very hard to "process" love, attention and (when necessary) correction. Each has a very different response!

Anonymous said...

Luke, you are doing a fantastic job there. And I agree with Christine that at least one boy is better because of your passion and care to help them in their earlier lives. Without people like you this world would be in a sorry state.
Sergiy, London

Luke said...

Thank you, Sergiy. It is great to know that there are people like you back home who support this work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Luke! I've been busy those days and I haven't read your blog. I got shocked when I saw your picture but what I can tell you is that when God calls us for his work he never promisses us everything will be beautiful! I remember the prophet Jeremiah! He suffered for over 40 years all kinds of assaults and embarassements and never saw what he said concluded. But Now we see the whole history and we can conclude it was worthy! And I tell you It is worthy! God is with you and he will always be!!! Be strong and count on my prayers!!! Bless you friend! Renata

Brownbear said...

I was once on a train out of Birmingham New Street when the one next to me started to pull away giving me the optical sensation that my train was going backwards and away from my destination. In panic I jumped off my train at the very moment that it pulled away from the platform. I felt such a twit and had to wait ages for the next one. Still I got where I was going in the end.

Anonymous said...

If you look around you,closely you will see that you are not alone...
I've only just read're so brave and soulfully beautiful! Keep pressing on! We here (north) love your blogs!

Luke said...

Thank you, dear friend in the north!

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