Friday, August 5, 2011

I AM The Destroyer

We play God. Make decisions with lives that are not our own.

We are surgeons, taking sledge hammers to cancers at times, when the delicate edge of the scalpel won't work. We rebuild families. We tear them apart. At least this is what it feels like, some days.

Planes throttle down the runway, away from the sun, it reflects in the wings. Like dark birds, their shadows track the tarmac of those descending. People come. People Go. Two boys in the seats next to me watch, but my eyes settle more on their slumped shoulders. Right now, they hate me.

The eight year old, I first met through a closet door, where he hid after being dragged down the hall for hovering too close. He was afraid, so we talked through the slats until he felt he could trust me enough to open the door. He had been there for hours, screaming. He just wanted some food.

"If you people would just let me whoop their ass, we would get this straight," she said, "Worse thing anyone ever told these kids is that no one can touch them."

"Yes, I drug him down the hall, he deserved it. He doesn't need food, he eats. He needs to learn."

This was the beginning, but it is a process, dictated by those that sit comfortably in air conditioned offices, far from the homes where life happens. Not that we make decisions lightly, it is a process, that sometimes works only after someone gets hurt.

An announcers voice leaks the loud speaker, breaking the metronome motion of our heads following the planes. Please prepare for boarding, in just a few minutes they will begin calling first class. We check to make sure the stuffed animals have all their things, as we check our own.

"He knows what he is doing, he does this just to make my life hell. All this psycho mumbo jumbo you are trying to teach me, there comes a point where it don't work and he just needs to get his ass beat," her words sat heavy between us, "He was born this way. Nothing that happened to him before did this, He was born this way."

Two seats over, his sister wont look at me. She is seven and all she knows is that I took her away from her grandmother. She loves her and believes the things told her of how I am evil, destroying families for fun. I hate you, she repeated again and again as we pulled out the driveway. Chances are I will never see them again, but each time she says it, another shivering arrow shaft porcupines my body. I wait to pull them out once I am alone.

Being children, they board first and don't look back but I watch them all the way to the turn in the ramp, then sink back into my seat and wait. The plane eventually taxis to the queue. A new place await on the other end, a new day for them.I tell myself these things as I watch until they are a speck in the sky then wink out of sight.

One day maybe they will understand. Maybe they will not. Maybe their memories will fade and their life play will have a happy ending well after this scene. As I walk back through the airport terminal, I repeat lines to myself, to anyone that will listen to my whispers as I pass on the way to the door, seeking fresh air.

We play God. Make decisions with lives that are not our own.

There are no rehearsals. This is life.

written for The Tenth Daughter of Memory.

66 comments:

Titanium said...

This was so hard to read. I can't imagine living it. Deeply thankful that there are those who give their lives (and carry the arrow-scars) so that little children don't have to live like that.

Suz said...

at lunch today i witnessed, one booth over, a little girl about 2-3 fighting with her older sister...The sister kicked her and she began to cry and looked toward her mother for relief or justice
The justice she got was a smack in the face ( to a tiny little baby girl) a whack to the head and a loud shout up!...

So sad your story

Baino said...

Great. I know its the truth but it has resonance and it's a powerful and frustrating piece.

ayala said...

Just great, Brian . The porcupines arrows ....love that! So good to save even one child.....each one precious.

Betsy said...

I hope you know I pray for you. What a tough job! You do it well...even more than you know. I know some days are almost unbearable, though.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow that does sound quite rough, not even a rhyme this time I will puff. OK just one. That really must be quite the burden to bare. But in the end its for the childs benefit, so hopefully that makes it worth it. Tough job though.

Heaven said...

Great opening statements; it caught my attention.

Your story is touching and sad; like every action had a repercussion on another action, another life. We may never know how it will turn out in the end (good or bad); but if your heart is true, then you have done your best.

This story came from your heart; thanks for sharing it.

Also, this is your 3rd story to 10DOM..amazing energy~

tracy said...

I don't know how you do it.

Daniel said...

Man this one was very personal and raw. It was beautiful, yet I hated the story at the same time.

Nikki Rules said...

Seriously Brian,

I think I'm glad I never know if your writing is fiction or real life. But fiction can never equate real life when life is real bad...

Yes. Better not know when its make believe or not...

lori said...

This brings tears to my eyes. I think they will realize one day. I hope they do. I can only imagine the difficult spot you are in. It would break my heart. I don't know I could be tough enough, to be honest. I felt all the emotions throughout. Nicely done :) Oh, and you are no destroyer, no matter how much it feels that way at times.

She Writes said...

I know it all too well, I'm afraid.

Margie said...

This is so heartbreaking!
And you are amazing!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Margie :)

Jackie said...

Touching post, I am thankful that there are those that bear these arrows and scars so children may find a better life.

Steve E said...

No rehearsals. Almost always a good spontaneous jam session will produce more memorable music than the best-rehearsed symphonic poem.

I'm sure it is so with your work, more than you know....

PEACE!

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

Oh, Brian. You are no destroyer. But our sick society is. I hope that one day in the future both of those kids will realize that you were there to save them. That flight was a new beginning, and may it be a good one.

KB and Whitesnake said...

I too hope they will understand one day.

Maxine Beneba Clarke said...

This is so bittersweet.

Valerie said...

A brilliant piece of writing, Brian, and yes it brought tears to my eyes. One question haunts me though... do we ever know if the decisions made are the right ones. I imagine that sometimes they're not but we can only do what we believe is best. I've relived a few scenarios whilst preparing a blogging post.

Claudia said...

tears..hope you managed to pull the arrows out of your body - i can imagine they hurt even if you knew it was right what you were doing. it sounds like you're doing an excellent job bri and i hope they will understand one day.. when reading the story one almost forgets there's an excellent use of writing technique in the background because the story itself hits - but it hits so hard because it's told in such an excellent way...have you ever thought about writing a book with just stories and poems from your work..? you wrote some of them and they stick in my mind because they are so real...for example the one with the flying boy..

TechnoBabe said...

I wanted so much for someone to come and get me when I was a child. I think my brother did too but we did not speak about what was going on, it was hard enough to get by each day. So in my opinion, if you removed kids from abuse, you gave them a chance to learn about a different way of life. You helped change the course of their future life. I would have been grateful to someone like you for the rest of my life if that had been me.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"We play God. Make decisions with lives that are not our own.
There are no rehearsals. This is life."

Hi! Brian...
Your words are...
Your words are...
This is just one Of many sad and heart-breaking stories [That people in your profession have to address more than "we" know] and it is...
very...heart-breaking
very...poignant!
very...sad!
Thanks, for sharing!
deedee :-(

♥ Braja said...

Life *is* the rehearsal :)

SueAnn said...

This is a heavy responsibility. Life-altering to you and to them. Blinded by duty and by fear. Will the two ever make peace? Unknown! Only time will tell! Sigh!
Hugging you
SueAnn

Susan Deborah said...

Brian, the first few lines hit he hard and the rest of the writing hit me harder. This is the only life but what happens in that short duration is almost quite unimaginable.

This post makes me reflect on various levels . . . mostly on the things I take for granted.

Joy always,
Susan

P. S: Baked my first chocolate cake and it gives me immense joy. Thought I would share this with you (Smiles).

happygirl said...

It shouldn't be so easy to make children, but it is. It should be easier to make a family, but it's not. Tough piece.

annell said...

So well written, you told me so many things, a lifetime of things. This is really so complex and so many levels.

Natasha said...

At least because of the action you know within your heart they will be given the time to sort it out. Not doing it could have produced a much different result, a worse consequence. You are the destroyer, but it's only out of the destruction that new roads can be built, new destinations reached. Somebody has to play the role, and thank god they did. You, the destroyer of a terrible situation, actually provided hope, opportunity, a chance....oh dear, this I think was way too much for my Saturday morning!

adeeyoyo said...

Nothing is so hard as trying to do something to improve the lives of children when they don't understand what you're doing and why! I have lived through this with one of my children and it was agony...

the walking man said...

It is not playing God to be a voice for the voiceless and making hard choices for them who can not because of size or age make them for themselves. It is though being a Human Being, one of the very many things we have forgotten how to be.

Jyoti Mishra said...

life is tough... sometimes can b very tough. Decisions are equally tough..
Nice read !!

Tara Miller said...

This one made me cry. I know your work is very tough at times and very rewarding at others and you only want whats best for thses children in the long run. they may not understand right now what is happening and the choices being made for them but I feel certain that when they look back on this they will see you for the blessing you were in their life for a short period of time. You are a blessing to all the boys you work with - because you truly care and they will see that. Love you

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

God be with you as you do His work well.

hedgewitch said...

I think the hardest thing about it all would be not knowing the end for these fragile kids, as you speculate in your last lines. But if God won't protect the helpless, then someone has to play him. Or maybe that's how it works--don't ask me, I'm not in on the logic. I've always thought it a deeply flawed thing that it's so easy to have kids, and that people who barely have the resources to take care of themselves become responsible for shaping totally the life and experiences of someone else. It's harder to get a license to drive an inanimate vehicle than it is to create a child.

formerlyonlyamovie said...

I needed to read this today. I needed a reminder that this work is important. Summer break is almost over and it's time to get back into the trenches. I wish we worked together, Brian - there are so few people who understand (and articulate) this work as well as you do.

Happy Sunday!

Heather said...

this is so full of emotion....i say you are giving them a chance...a chance they may never have gotten if people like you were not helping them...here's to their happy ending!
btw - The Room - is very intense...
hope you are out enjoying your family today!

kaykuala said...

It is just amazing and it is sad. Good intentions not readily accepted is most discouraging

Magpie said...

Brian, how do you make it through these kind of days? I'm glad you can see the bigger picture and have a good foundation and support system at home. I thank God that there are people like you.

Jannie Funster said...

Some pretty darn chilling stuff in this, Bri.

I guess we'll all hug our own kids a little closer today.

xo

Tabitha said...

Wow..THAT was a powerful read today.

Thank you for sharing.

Tina said...

I don't think I could handle your job, b. Heartbreak everywhere and the losers are always the kids. I know from personal experience how hard it is for them to heal, trust, accept love. Friend of mine adopted two severely abused kids and it's been hell trying to raise them. I have such a hard time reconciling that with a loving God who cares for His children. WHY would he let the little ones be harmed, and irrevocably damaged?
Tina @ Life is Good

Poetic Soul said...

Children are abused daily all over the world, one of the saddest evils of this world.

Fred said...

Powerful write. Perception must be a dagger somedays, where the only thing you have to do is know what is right and the benefit from it is what's truly important, yet at the same time a bit sad when you sway in view. Thanks for putting this all down, never really knew about situations like this actually existing, guess when you're not around things, you just, aren't aware.. Thanks for bringing awareness.

Ed Pilolla said...

we do play god. we do destroy. we do the best we can. you do amazing work. having second and third thoughts about our actions, especially those that affect the lives of youngsters, is bound to breed self examination, but only for those who really truly care. thanks for sharing. you have something to offer the world and it's a gift you give it here.

Hope said...

oh, so intense, Brian. this piece reminded me of the time my nephews, age 7, and 5 appx. were taken away to live in a foster home. ooo...heart ached, gut wrenched and we cried. it was for the best and today they are responsible adults with families and an asset to the community.

the destroyer becomes the savior in tough love situations. anyways that's my take on it.

so...beautiful and moving.
thank you Brian!

Rebecca S. said...

I suppose we are given the grace to do what we are meant to. I don't envy you (or the character you write of if it is not you) your job...but someone has to do it and I'm sure you are good at it. Do you know the Bob Dylan song, 'Broken'? This made me think of it.

JeffScape said...

Very good. It's starting to feel like old times at Waystation One.

Style's not as smooth as your B piece, but this story's more complete; better paced.

Still way too many typos.

Lorraine said...

It is all so hurtful so difficult, the choices, decisions, what's the best thing to do...i found only one answer, is that anything that is done with Love, the unconditional one, can't fail....a child should be in a Loving environment....you do that, you are an angel of mercy

Bimbimbie said...

This is one play we would all wish for a once only showing but sadly there are too many 'actors' still waiting in the wings.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

This one really drives home with me Brian...so many children...SO MANY...and this line stabs me as I deal with this SO OFTEN:

"those that sit comfortably in air conditioned offices, far from the homes where life happens."

If only they did what WE DO...see what WE SEE...

Linda said...

You frame the most difficult moments in such powerful words Brian. My heart just aches with yours. I sometimes wonder how the Father can bear to watch it all - the multiplied pain and suffering and injustice.
Thank you for the job you do and for the great heart with which you do it.

Cheryl said...

I've said it before & I'll say it again: "I don't know how you do this." I find comfort in knowing that you're out there, caring, and trying to make a difference. As heartbreaking as this is, it's your reality and one you write about with such skill and passion.

Sheila Moore said...

Sound like a very hard day at the office. Motives are the key for me...are we really playing God or are we simply allowing him to use us as an instrument of his will?

secret agent woman said...

But you know - I hear the other side from those very kids who are now grown. The ones who wonder why no one stepped in to save them.

ds said...

Thank you for sharing this slice of your life. It is beautiful, powerful, and...devastating. Porcupine quills are best removed gently...
Do you ever find out what happens to the children you save?

Sue said...

Those are hard choices to make. You've nailed this one.

=)

PattiKen said...

There is so much pain in this. Pain for the kids, pain for you. I don't know how you do what you do, but i know there are many lives many better for it.

gayle said...

It's so hard to know what to say. This is so sad but the kids will have a better life!

Manda said...

This was heart-wrenching. I can not even imagine having to live out that story in your shoes. Let us not play God but administers of His grace.

sheila said...

Oh my gosh. This is so powerful and sad. :(

Goofball said...

you told me you had a hard day then....that would definately define a hard day. I wish those kids a very happy ending. This gives me chills

Myrna R. said...

I know it's hard playing god. Many blessings to you and to those kids.

Syd said...

So many don't have a chance, being changed and mutated psychologically from birth. I am glad that you are there to give some hope that things may be different one day.

LceeL said...

We ask so much of some people - give them such hard tasks to perform - and give them little honor in the process.

Well done, illuminating what must be a very hard slice of a very hard life.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Sad truth for the now. But you are right in thinking lives change, and you are part of the redirection process that is needed. -J