Thursday, April 15, 2010

He still sees a person

I mentioned yesterday that one of my brothers, J, currently works for a local social services agency, as an aide of sorts in a home for teenagers with severe emotional and behavioural issues.

On Tuesday, he was forced to restrain a teenage girl, to prevent her from harming herself or others.  In the process of restraining her (it took three grown men), she spat in J's eye, and bit him on his shoulder.

He's seen a doctor, who wasn't too concerned about the bite, and is getting bloodwork done, just to make sure she didn't transmit any diseases when she spat in his eye and bit him.  He's okay.

But his response is what struck me.

We traded text messages about the incident for a little while yesterday, and, after assuring me that he was fine, his response was this, "I understand the need to restrain her, but it still sucks, to have to hold her down, and to get spat at and bitten."

What struck me was this - he still sees a person.  Not someone evil who broke a lot of rules and is a danger to herself and others.  But a girl, who needs help.  A girl, who, while he'll restrain her to prevent injury to herself and others, is still a girl, and one who he regretted having to restrain.  He sees the person behind the issues in these teenagers, and that challenges me.

Because with that many issues, and after being bitten and spat at, I'd have a hard time seeing anything but a person who bit me and spat at me.

J. and I didn't get along for a lot of years, and it's only within the last year that we've begun patching together a tentatively functional friendship.  We are about as opposite as two siblings can be.

And yet, yesterday, with one line in a text message, Jesus borrowed his voice, and he taught me something.

He sees a person.

I think Jesus probably did too - when he was beaten and spat at and hanging on a cross.  He cried out "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they do."

I read a powerful post at Donald Miller's blog this morning about what kind of story you're telling, and what happens if you don't tell a good story.  And this morning I'm grateful for my brother, who told a story of love and acceptance.  Who saw a human being, and loved her, even when she bit him and spat on him.


Erin said...

Hi, Lisa! Thanks for joining Amateur Hour! I love what you have here. I read today's post and I'm excited to read more of your story... for example, why you are living in your grandmother's basement and cooking under her watchful eye. =) (You are a delightful story teller!) I am looking forward to making my own cleaning supplies, too! I am just making my way through the last of my chemicals. I think that laundry soap is first on my list.

Love & Peace,