I’ve been wondering all day about whether or not I’m going to post this. The reasons I almost didn’t is because I think that it’d be easy to assume I’m either bragging or feeling sorry for myself.
I can’t fully deny the latter charge. I hope you’ll take my word for it that the former– bragging– truly isn’t what is on my heart.
I am sore. Beat down physically sore. My back is stiff and hurting. Over the last two and a half years of dealing with this messed up back, I’ve developed a calf problem as a result of walking funny. My calf too is quite painful. I hurt quite often. I am really sick of it.
I originally got hurt breaking up a fight in the behaviorally disordered class I taught. Two kids were going to jump a third. I don’t actually remember making the decision to get between them. I remember the stuff before that decision quite vividly. I remember the time after equally vividly. But I want to be really clear about the whole not-bragging thing: I don’t deserve any credit because I didn’t make a decision. And even if I had, I’m not 100% sure it would have been the right decision.
The kids were tough adolescents. They probably would have been fine if I’d not gotten involved. But me? I’ve paid quite a price in a lot of different ways. I spent three weeks on disabality. It’s probably not an exageration to say that I haven’t gone a single week, in over two years, without feeling the results of this decision physically. On a couple occasions I’ve had pretty creepy flashback to the trauma of being in the middle of that fight. At the end of that school year my contract was not renewed at the school I taught at. I’d been warned of this by people who knew the system better than me: the school would not want me around, I was a legal liabality. Family members who were less niave than me encouraged me to get copies of my personal file. I didn’t do that.
And truthfully, in the time since this injury, I could have (probably should have) sought out more medical help. I should get rid of my bone headed doctor and find somebody who’s going to work with me. I should invest time in more physical therapy. I should get in better shape. What I’m trying to say is that I’m not just an innocent victim here. I’ve made mistakes. And God has taken care of me. There are so many people who I could have never made it through that time if they hadn’t been around. God put those people in my life, and he worked through them.
But I’m not the only one who made mistakes and bares some blame in that whole ugly affair. The guy who was my classroom aide, he behaved thoroughly ineptly at the time. The administrators behaved imorraly after. The kids caused the fight. But I don’t believe that any of those people are baring any of the wieght of this event. Most probably hardly even remember it.
Me, and my family, we pay the price every day for this event. There are times when this gets me angry. There are days that this doesn’t seem fair. One of the reasons I’m posting about this, though, is to share one of the things that has encouraged me through all this.
At the time when I could barely sit through a church service because I was in so much pain there was a sermon that the pain meds prevented me from really hearing. But some friends summarized it later. It was around Mark 11:12 “12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
Usually, that verse is taken to express how powerful Heaven is, how irresitible God’s work is. But the people who shared this with me shared the observation from the sermon that this disregards the full context of why Jesus said it. John the Baptist was improsoned, and presumably discouraged. Previously he expressed no doubts about Jesus identify. But his followers go to Jesus, looking for assurance. The verse above is what Jesus says in an attempt to help John through his trials.
Taken in context, the verse seems to be a warning “It’s not all sweetness and light. The act of bringing about the kingdom is a violent event. Sometimes the crap hits the fan.”
These good friends shared that they’d thought of me as they heard this. Nobody things I’m John the Baptist. But I was suffering. And I was trying to do the right thing. And it didn’t feel very fair. It still doesn’t.
But I’m trying to keep my chin up. And realizing that it’s going to get ugly sometimes helps.