Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hugs like light through stormclouds

Let's just say the Depot is not without its crises and conflicts. Hardly a day goes by without some drama unfolding. Many of these young people are being  battered by life, and many lack the resiliency or the skills to cope. Sometimes the strife ripples out into our little community like a gathering thunderstorm, or else it hangs in the air like black magic.

But just as frequently, light breaks through the clouds.

Like the excitement of one struggling young person who landed his first internship last week, and another young lady whose internship just turned into a job at a law firm.

There's the growing confidence of a young man whose challenging technology project is finally getting off the ground, and the excitement and pride of a young man who came to tell me about his new, higher SAT scores.

There's the excitement among the staff as we plan new supports for students.

There's the generosity of a young lady who baked twelve dozen cookies for everyone, and the seven students who worked all morning yesterday cooking a delicious ham dinner for the whole school.

There are the smiles on faces that haven't seen many smiles lately, as they picked out an unwrapped gift during the Yankee swap.

And there are the courageous young women who sang impromptu songs for our open mic.

But the brightest light this week came from one powerful young man whose courage and compassion just blew me away. The past month has been just one painful blow after another for him, and on top of all that, a friend at the school has been seething with anger towards him for a week. So he decided to do something about it.

First, he approached his angry friend and tried to initiate a conversation: "Hey, man, we have to talk about this.." he began, and then explained his side of the story.

There was no response to this initial effort: the other student just turned away. But that wasn't the end of it. Later that day, as the angry student was sitting for the Yankee swap, this powerful young man approached him again. He came up behind him, and I heard him say something like, "I may get punched in the face for this hug, but I'm doing it anyway."

Then he wrapped his arms around this angry student, and that frown that had been there all week just... broke. It broke into a smile, though this angry kid tried to fight it. That bear hug broke through that anger like a the sun through storm clouds.

Thank you, young man, for reminding me what it's all about--what being human is all about.

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