Space For One More
“I am a total waste of space!” Spitting out those awful, venomous words, the 15-year old boy buried his head in his arms and let the tears cleanse the hurt that consumed him.
Jason is in my office because he attempted to kill himself. Just fifteen years old and he’s convinced that there is no hope for him, that happiness is an illusion that can never be grasped or attained.
His words stab into my own memory because he reminds me so much of myself. I remember the sting of those same hateful words when they were thrown into my own face as a 12-year old and I had believed them. When you hear the words often enough, you surrender to them.
The boy that first said them to me was a popular all-around sports kid and I was… I was not like him. I had tried out for the basketball team and was quickly informed that I did not have what it takes to be on the team. Their laughter echoes mockingly inside my head, I guess it will never go away.
I know now that was the beginning of a downward spiral in my life as I experimented with one thing after another to gain the approval of others. My fingers nervously trace the scars on my wrists.
I recognize the utter desolation that Jason is feeling and I pray to my loving Father in heaven to give me just the right words for him. More than anything else, he needs to feel accepted. I can do that for his because Jesus has done that for me. I can be a reflection of his love to show Jason that there is hope. And his name is Jesus.
God planted me here where I can help kids that suffer just as I did. My experiences are the gateway and common ground that allows me to help them because I have wandered down that same horrible path that leads nowhere.
As Jason pours out the misery that is overwhelming him, I begin to softly hum my favorite song, Jesus Loves Me. As a counselor, I meet a lot of troubled kids. I’ve noticed that many respond to this because somewhere deep inside, they recognize the tune and the words that go with it. Not all, of course, some kids grow up never seeing the inside of a church; our country has changed so much. In any case, the subtle power of music helps to calm their frazzled nerves and makes them willing to listen and to trust.
A scrap of trust is usually all they have left. And they desperately guard against it being damaged any further. For some of these boys, it stems from the rejection of a girl or humiliation in front of their peers. Others daily endure an abusive home life that just leaves me feeling helpless.
Across the room, behind my desk, there is a picture of Jesus with a lamb on his shoulders.
“Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders.” (Luke 15:4b-5)
That’s me as I gently care for this despondent young boy. I want to be his shepherd, the one to lead him to a safe place.
As my heart yearns to fill the emptiness inside Jason, I smile at the transformation God has performed in my own life. I am no longer “a waste of space” as I was so brutally told over and over as a teen-aged boy, but now I am one that fills “the empty space” in kids that don’t know where else to turn.
My prayer to God is a blended psalm of thanks for his caring for me and giving me the opportunity to help others and an imploring prayer that he will bring Jason to him in the same way.
“Lord, place your arms around Jason so that he can see that there is plenty of space for him in your kingdom. Fill his heart with your peace that is beyond understanding and rebuild a joy in his soul that is no longer there. Show him what it is like to have a Father who loves him and wants the very best for him. Let him rest in your arms.”
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Great story and very well written. Just a couple minor things that can be fixed easily. "Him" instead of "his"..in I can do that for him. AND< take out the "it" before damaged my faith. Also, how about an "amen" at the end of your beautiful prayer. I loved it!Keep up the Writing! You're good at it!