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Shaina – A Call for Compassion

By March 19, 2009No Comments

Shaina: “Wud up? What r u doin’?” This is the bridge of casual conversation built before we get to the real issue. There is a rhythm, a pattern to these kinds of conversations initiated by teens. You can sense it. You can feel the unconscious atmosphere shift. This was once called “buttering you up,” but not anymore. Buttering just doesn’t describe what this is. This is more urgent and pointed than what the word “butter” can offer. This is prepping. She is making sure that I am in a position to be attentive to her words. She needs to know that I have enough time to listen without her call for help being interrupted. Here is how the rest of the texting went. Shaina: “So, I’m like blahhhh about life. Idk (I don’t know) what I really want to do with my life. I want to be around u n learn from u, but I slip up a lot and idk how to stop.” Steve: “The great thing about our relationship is that even though u slip up, I don’t push u away…u run away. My arms r still open n so r God’s, waiting 4 your return. Shaina: “Thanks Steve” When we listen and give positive feedback, people always feel better. Don’t they? It’s like when you are challenged to hold your breathe for any extended period of time. You take a deep breath, fill your cheeks full of air, and attempt to hold your breath until you get dizzy. Then, thirty seconds in, something funny happens that makes you laugh. Everyone is laughing, but you are laughing because you are so relieved that you are off the hook of having to hold your breath until you start to panic. So you choose laughter. Laughter always feels better than panic. But feeling better isn’t the real goal, is it? She didn’t call me to make her feel better. She could have called her boyfriend or her local drug dealer for that. She specifically said, “I want to be around you…” I missed it, I missed it, I missed it. I didn’t hear it. The cry of our youth. I’m lost…come find me! Making her feel better was easier. The selfish me thought: I could do it with the right words…at a distance…through the medium of a cell phone…this way, I didn’t have to get myself dirty…besides, I’m busy today…I’ll direct her to God, he will take care of it…right? If feeling better was the remedy to our problems, then there would be no problems. Almost anything can make you feel better. Encouragement can make you feel better. So can illegal drugs A good sermon A pornographic picture Your favorite song A lie An old picture of your ex-boyfriend taken when times were good A piece of cardboard folded in half with the words “It’s your birthday” on the front Feeling better is what we settle for. It is what we are allowing our youth to settle for. Feeling better is the fog we run through when we are searching for answers. That is why we can’t find them. Adults just want to be comfortable. Christians long for the bliss of Heaven. Blue-collars take years to plan vacations. Pregnant moms want to put their feet in hot water and fragranced oils. The manically depressed want to die. We don’t want to address the problem. We want to escape. We just want to be comfortable. So making people feel better has become an art. An art perfected by preachers, drug dealers, talk-show host, parents, cons, motivational speakers, politicians, rappers, and others. Making our youth feel better is easy. Wholeheartedly being moved by compassion to inconvenience ourselves, and take the time to walk with them through the valley of their problems…priceless. ]]>