I’m very sad today.
A young lady that I used to mentor has chosen a path in her life that I am afraid may lead her down a very dangerous road. She’s made her choice and moved out yesterday and I’ve never been so sad to see any one of my girls go before (Im a resident advisor for a foster care agency by the way). Aside from being worried about her, I really cared for her. And it’s weird because I didnt know how deeply attached in my heart I was to her until she left. Funnily enough, back when I used to volunteer at an emergency shelter, it was always the runaways that caught my heart. The teenagers whose parents have lost parental rights. Who are closed to aging out of the system, and have no covering, back up plan, or family for when they are booted out of the system and left on their own. My heart always went out to this demographic because I always wondered, what will happen to them, and who will take care of them. These are the true modern day orphans, and this is truly who my heart is with. And I realized while she was here, that this girl IS “the runaway” that my heart was always with.
So, in my saddness I’ve learned a very important lesson, and it’s about love. See as an RA or House Mom, my heart is to save each and every girl from the perils that life can bring. I want to teach them life lessons, so that when they leave they can become stronger and better women. I want, with all my heart to help them. BUT I’ve also realized that as an RA, as a mentor, and friend, I cannot force them to do anything. I can try to set a bunch of rules and consequences for breaking those rules. I can try to “punish” them for sneaking out, or sneaking people in, or for stealing from me, or being disrespectful to me. But ultimately, the choice is theirs, and that is the nature of our program…..it’s voluntary.
So what have I learned about love…..I’ve learned that when you truly love someone you give them their freedom, and you trust God that He will lead them down the right path, and that eventually they will find their way. True love isn’t threatening, forceful, or domineering.
Mariah Carey said it best….
“Blindly I imagined I could keep you under grasps, now I understand to hold you I must open up my hands and watch you fly.”
I feel like a mom who is letting her child move out of her home for the first time. Or like the bible story of the King and his prodigal son. I never imagined I would be so sad over this, but nonetheless I release her and hope she finds her way.
Also, I’m thinking that ultimately as an RA in this home, my goal is to lead the girls to Christ, to show them that I care about them because the Lord cares about them. Or that if I am patient it is because the Lord is patient with them. This is reminding me that Im his vessel while I’m in this home. I’m here to show them Him!
Another thing I was thinking was that in all these years I don’t think I’ve ever known love. Not true and vulnerable love. Not real friendship and loving people and letting them go. Not REAL LIFE AMAZING, TRUE FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE.
I’ve been in a box, and I’ve been living a safe and lonely life. But now with this community God has placed me in it feels like my shell is breaking. Like I’m becoming the soft and vulnerable girl that I am. And Instead of constantly worrying and trying to figure out who I should be, instead I am just being who I am….and it feels good.