Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Learning my Lesson

I found out on Sunday evening that on Monday I was scheduled to work on the boys wing. I thought I had made it clear that I do not (DO NOT!) work well with teenage boys. Or really, I don't work well boys who are older than 9 or younger than 23. There is something about the teenage boy aura that sets me off and turns me into a bumbling mean person and I do not like to be a bumbling mean person.

Currently at the shelter we have several boys who are in my age range of dislike and I was not looking forward to the shift. But not wanting to whine and be annoying to the supervisor I said nothing and went to work with a lump of hard hard coal in my chest and a premonition of disaster. I was sure that they were going to be rude and disrespectful, that they would not listen to a word I had to say, that they would call me names behind my back, that they would think I was stupid, that they would kick me and then I would cry. I just knew that I would get frustrated and say something I didn't mean and that I would leave feeling a weird mixture of regret and boiling bubbling anger.

I was envisioning rude little monkeys who would further encourage me in my dislike of teenage boys. And maybe they would even throw poop.

I did get little monkeys. I did get frustrated. I did cry. No one threw poop.

Somewhere in the 8 hours I spent with them those monkeys found a hole in wall I so carefully crafted around my heart. This job requires a certain level of detachment, in order to preserve sanity. I can't get too attached to any of the kids, I can't become too involved in their lives. I have to be ok with them leaving and never saying goodbye. I have to be ok with them getting angry with me and saying hurtful things and not apolgizing. I have to be ok with having lasagna thrown on me for no good reason.

In the year and a half I have worked at the shelter I have gotten very good at detaching. But last night, as I said, the monkey boys found a hole in my heartwall, and without me even noticing, they completely destroyed my wall and I was left vulnerable. My naked heart was theirs for the taking, I had no way to defend myself. I wasn't ready for them.

When I drove home I couldn't stop thinking about those monkeys. By the time I pulled into the driveway I was crying. They got my heart, they tore it into shreds and put it back in my body. Now I'm left with a wounded heart and I remember why I put that wall there in the first place. Because I love those kids so much and I can't do anything about it and if I don't protect myself the love I have for them will eat me alive. I'm scared to go back next week.


Ann said...

I'm sorry you had such a hard time. I will pray that God will strengthen you and give you peace for next week.

dawn said...

great quote i heard from one of your boys while i was over there: "yeah. like i really wanna see his naked balls." ha ha ha! i love working with the boys. they always make me laugh. i'm glad they tore down your wall. but, if you ever want to switch, i'll be glad to. i haven't gotten to work with the boys in a long time. i miss them.
p.s. you're a youth pastor's wife and you don't like teenage boys? how does that work for ya?

dawn said...

if we click on the ads, does that make more money for you? i clicked on them a few times, just in case. if so, you should tell people to click on them.

dawn said...

well can i say it then? i could leave a comment on each post reminding people to click. lol.

Ann said...

I've learned from having my blog that most people are lurkers. I have to be happy that they're at least reading even if they're not commenting. I've decided not to let it bother me and to just keep writing.

Matt said...

Good post. And, it's healthy for you to be stuck with those boys. Kind of like me and Jr. High girls. It builds character.

And, yes, you get a category all to yourself. You are uncategorizable.

dawn said...