Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wild Things

Watching the elephants run circles with sparkled, barely clothed Latino women on their backs was kind of fascinating on it's own. These animals are HUGE and it's a wonder with some of the routine these women weren't crushed. Human cheese spread for the Siberian Tigers nervously pacing in the cages just outside the ring. I can't say they might not have deserved it, or at least the person who has kept them in captivity and trained them like this. The women are simply doing a job and a really unique job at that. I can't say I wouldn't jump at the opportunity myself. Looking at the small animals (by comparison) I call children and seeing the sparkle in their eyes, their mouths agape, hearings the 'wow's' and 'whoa's' of amazement escape their lips is quite another thing. I'm not torn about their response, I don't feel at all guilty about their sense of amazement and wonder. I only smile and hope it sparks something in them. Not something to cage a wild animal but something that will continue to see with awe the wonder and joy in the world just outside their windows and all about them. It's a hope something good will evolve from these awesome creatures' captivity. My hope is that the circus is monitored enough to make certain the animals are properly and respectfully cared for.

That was two Sundays ago when a small circus arrived locally and we received complimentary tickets for our kids at work. As much as I thought I would not enjoy it, I did very much. It was small, simple, focused primarily on acts. I believe it would have been just as enjoyable without the animals but I'm glad for the opportunity to see them as I would likely never see them in the wild. Honestly, a postcard does not do them justice. Neither do the bars on the cage but behind bars certainly displays them better.

I'm reading a book about a young orphan girl who lost her parents early on, has very vague memories and only recalls what her stodgy and spiteful grandmother tells her of them. The grandmother will not even allow the girl to speak her mother's name and anything that is directly related to the mother (toys, the father's paintings, clothing...) has been destroyed. I mention this because later in the book Maya, the young girl, ends up on a ranch in Wyoming where there are wild horses everywhere. The story of course brings to question capturing and training these wild creatures. It also makes the comparison of the 12 years olds life to the horses. It's a book for young adults but it's very good. "Paint the Wind" by Pam Munoz Ryan if you want to check it out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Head Pressure

Mornings when the weather changes are difficult. Seeing the sun and clear skies is always welcome but the sinus pain from the atmospheric pressure change is not. Sometimes it's so severely impairing a simple turn of the head or bending over to tie my shoes feels as if my skull may split to empty the contents causing the pain. The headaches don't happen often but when they do nothing seems to alleviate the pain and I go through the day feeling quite miserable and cranky. It doesn't help that we are understaffed at work and the youth that we are counseling feel so entitled and angry it seems as if no progress can be made. In fact, none can if the kid doesn't see the need for it or simply doesn't want to change.

I've been thinking about the film, "No Country For Old Men", and equating it with work. I'm wondering if I'm just past the point of being able to understand or accept or work effectively with the backgrounds our residents are coming from. Initially watching that film I was looking for some turn of events, some twist that would tie the Tommy Lee Jones character to the others. Expecting Jones to be their father and the two younger men to be siblings. This didn't happen (if it did I missed it and feel really stupid as that's what I was looking for and still managed to miss it). Reflecting I think it's really much simpler than that. Tommy Lee Jones just had nothing in his background allowing him to come to terms with just how violent and hateful and empty this murderer was. There was no making sense of the events other than just trying to convince oneself that, as unfathomable at they were, the events were real and happened. If one cannot come to terms with that is it sensible for one to continue in that field? Did it make sense for Tommy Lee Jones to remain in a profession where the criminals were beyond redemption? It was time for him to retire before he was ruined.

When working with children I saw hope for new beginnings. Now I have to face children who have been so badly abused/hurt/neglected I wonder if there is any hope for most of them. It all seems so bleak and I cannot wrap my mind around it. If I could it would be to hug them and assure them it will all be okay, but so many of them are beyond even that. An 11 year old who thinks nothing of carrying a loaded weapon because since 7 he's been taken care of by dealers (not his parents) who have protected him, taken him out overnights, had him run deals, and he feels perfectly justified carrying a weapon and using it if he has too. He can tie his own shoes now and read but where change really matters he's no different than when I first met him. He may even be worse as he treats others so badly without any respect trying to anger them and give him a reason to literally attack. Others being sent back to the parents who abused them in first place. Others still who have been adopted but because of their unchanging behavior are finding their way back into the system, having acted out so badly in their new homes the families cannot keep them.

Goodness, this has been bleak. The sun's shining, there's a pleasant breeze, stray cats are eating food outside my front door, both dogs have been walked and fed and are actively fulfilling their duties to sleep the rest of the day, and my headache isn't any better.

prayer: Thank You for today, for an opportunity to plant the seeds of change, for the time to self examine, for family, for grace and hope. Amen