Here's a personal story that impacted me, recently, though I must just tell you that for the boys' sake, I'm not allowed to put their images on the internet. Hence the blurry photo's:
There's one boy (let's call him R. He's 10), here at the rescue house, who seems a little bit more composed than the rest. He hasn't lost his temper like the others have. He doesn't seem to be so emotional, while still being very affectionate. I've also noticed he's very sensitive to other people's feelings and often reacts appropriately, in the best way he knows how.
On Friday, however, he was in a very irritable mood with his younger brother (9). I had to literally step in between the two of them after they had brushed their teeth, to stop them fighting. This was over an argument that had developed about who should put the cap back on the toothpaste. It is normally the 9 year old, V, that will explode and rage for up to an hour while one of the volunteers have to restrain him from hurting himself or someone else. So after V had walked away, I spoke to R, and told him that he needs to have more patience with V. I told him that he's older, so he can't expect his younger brother to be more mature than him. He still had a really angry look on his face, but he left it, and we spent the rest of the morning playing silly little paper games, while V played games with one of the older brothers.
I told one of the girls, who works at the organization, that morning that for some reason I could feel God's presence with me in a different way that day.
Lunch time came. I have no idea how this even happen, I was a little distracted. But from what I can gather in my very very limited Portuguese is that R knocked his younger brother, V, as he walked behind his chair with his elbow, and V just exploded. He jumped off his chair and the two of them were trying to beat each other up right there next to the lunch table. I launched for V, and pulled him away thinking that him losing his temper would be the bigger threat. I didn't want him to rage for an hour again, so I took him away from the dining room with my hands wrapped around him in a soft, but affirming hug. I just told him to stay calm, and he did! It was a miracle! It's the first time that I haven't seen him lose control of himself, literally. So after not even 5 minutes of waiting for one of the other volunteers and the oldest brother, W (15), to drag the usually calm R out of the house, I let V go sit down. He was very calm.
I sat down with him for a couple of moments just to make sure he wasn't trying to trick me, and then got up and went outside to find R. I am very fond of this boy. I found him being restrained by the other volunteer and we waited for his anger to subside. Once he seemed like he wasn't about to run inside and try fight V again, I asked the volunteer to leave me and the boy out there. The volunteer wasn't on duty, and it was lunch time. He needed to eat. So I sat there with R and spoke to him about his brother. I said that I know V will provoke him all day long, but he needs to stay calm and relaxed, he must just forget about it. He needs to do this often if he wants to be friends with his brother when they're older.
He sat with an unfamiliar angry look on his face while we were talking. I took him by the hands and put him on his feet and told him that he needs to give me a hug before we go back. He very quickly wrapped his arms around me, and I just held him. I told him that I love him so much, and I love his brother, and I really want him to love his brother, too. I then asked if I could pray for him, and he nodded. So I prayed. I started in Portuguese, and then changed to English, because I can't actually speak that language. While I was praying, I could feel the love of God overcome me, and I was filled with emotions for this kid in my arms. I started to cry as I prayed. Afterwards, I knelt down next to him to encourage him, and he saw my tears. He lifted his shirt and wiped them away, with his one arm now around my neck. I asked him if he was ok, and he put on a grin and nodded.
He could see in my eyes how much love I had for him and his brothers.
I stood up again, he jumped on my back and we headed back towards the house!
I want us all to be able to share love with each other. But I've learnt that that love comes from God. It truly does, that's not just a cliched little saying that we use to make each other feel better. When other people are acting in ways that make us angry, or provoke us, we can rely on God to renew us with love if we simply take the time to ask! It's a simple, but important concept! My cry, again, is let's change this world with genuine love for each other. The love that is tough to give!