A Group of People

Do you see the whole story?

In abuse, anger, anxiety, children, coping, critical, critique, darkness, experience, growing up, homeless, hope, hopelessness, human being, judging, kids, least of these, life, listening, mentoring, opinions, people, perspective, potential, poverty, prison, purpose, reflection, relationship, relationships, society, treating people on March 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

By Gunnar Simonsen

“Before you talk, listen. Before you react, think. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try.” – unknown

I never could see past that which my eyes had seen.

He is a tall man with faded tattoos on his arms.

You could see life in the wrinkles of his face. If only each wrinkle could tell a story? They probably could, if I only I would ever take the time to listen. …or get close enough to listen.

When he was 7, he was first molested by a family member. By the time he was 12, he had been regularly molested by several different family members. He would often find himself locked up in a trailer in the backyard going days without food.

This was life as he knew it. The only family he knew were the very one’s that trapped him inside a web of self doubt and meaningless purpose as they returned to him… often.

STOP!

Take a moment and put yourself in his place.

How would have this made you feel? What would you have done?

GO!

From there, he began a life in search of value and self worth. He also began a life on the run constantly hustling to numb the pain he felt inside.

By the time he reached his late 40‘s, his life accomplishments were 64 felonies which added up to 19 years in prison.

He served time for theft and manufacturing meth.

All to survive and all to mask the pain.

On the streets or on the run, home was always wherever he was.

In prison, he kept to himself and trusted nobody. And why not? He was the only one he could trust. Life was survival.

He knew not what love looked like or that of the feeling of being truly wanted or valued.

But he looked for it.

He does have some proud moments though. Like the time he remained clean long enough to spend time taking care of his ailing mother the last 16 days of her life.

Seeing her son like that must have gave her hope. Losing the only person of relation to him that had not taken part in the early abuse in his life must have broke his heart.

I never could see past that which my eyes had seen.

Who are these people? They have no home. They have no hope. They have no self worth. For long gone is all sense of dignity.

Shame, guilt, and anger rule the day only seemingly masked by the needle of deceit that fills the veins with a hot liquid chemical of destruction. This of course fueled by a healthy dose of theft. And why not? You have to feed the habit.

Life was survival.

And yet I see it and walk away… far away. From a distance I judge. From my couch as I watch the news, I judge.

Get a job!
You’re a bum!
You’re worthless!
Stay away from me!
You’re a parasite!
What a loser!

I never could see past that which my eyes had seen.

If I could see past that which my eyes had seen, perhaps I would have seen a seven year old boy crying out for help.

STOP!

Put yourself in “your” place.

How does this make you feel? How might this change your perspective?

What can you do?

GO!

You can make a difference through the power of mentoring. Sadly, the demand for mentors is high, but the workers are few.

Please see what my friends are doing at The Mentoring Project and consider becoming a mentor yourself.

Behind every story… there is a story. Do you see it?

STOP!

This is a true story about a good friend of mine who after 4 years of recovery, just relapsed. I will continue to fight for him. In this, I will never look at people the same. People matter.

Who am I to judge how someone got to be where they are? We just assume. What ignorance.

There is value in every heartbeat. It’s called life.

For some, life starts with the “you can do it” shove like that of a father to a child as they are learning to ride a bike. Sadly, too many other lives start with the “you are worthless” shove of a father to a child who never learned to love in the first place.

And so the cycle continues.

Perhaps we can help stop this.

As a friend of mine says… we may not be able to change the world, but we can change the world of one person.

GO!

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  1. we had a homeless lady here in town, one of many I am sad to say. One of the owners at the store where I sell my photography decided she did not need to spend another night on the street.

    He worked 24/7 to get her paperwork in order, her social security,get an apartment. He allowed me to help in all of this along with a couple other friends.

    It is a terribly long story, someday I will tell it. Now she is in a nursing home, suffering with dementia…but safe, alive, off the streets, fed and clothed. All because some did exactly as you quoted “we may not be able to change the world, but we can change the world of one person” She would have died on the street and no one know, or care. She felt she had value and worth again in her life, something she had lost long ago.

  2. I love hearing this when you wrote… She felt she had value and worth again in her life, something she had lost long ago. Grateful for that store owner. Sad she lost her sense of value years prior. Thanks so much for sharing!

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