Dualities fascinate me.
- Good and Evil.
- Sunshine and rain.
- Rich and poor.
- Moral and corrupt.
- Light and dark.
- Clever and stupid.
- Love and hate.
- Prejudice and acceptance.
- Kind and cruel.
- Crippled and strong.
The Hawaii I explore in my mysteries is a beautiful place with a seedy underbelly, the land, aina, a place of matchless glory:
the people, a cornucopia. Hawaii is a complex, multiracial society filled with hidden divisions.
I am in the enviable position of working in public schools, a cross-section of island population equal to jury duty in terms of crossing every demographic. If you want to get to know a place, go spend time in its public schools. It's a shame so many involved and supportive families, who could really help raise the bar for our schools, have dumped us for private. But I digress.
A few weeks ago we called Child Welfare on the family of a girl I'm working with. To this day, there has been no visit to the home we're aware of to curtail the non-bruising beatings. Last week I offered to pay her soccer fees: 1) as a way to keep her engaged with pro-social activities, 2) because she's truly an athlete in the making, and 3) to build a bridge to this unstable family.
But it was hard to comfort her this morning as the parent, in a drunken rage, had taken away her soccer ball and said she couldn't participate in sports even with me paying. All because the girl gave a little sass over the drinking. (This told to me as we jogged together across a lush field, shining with dandelions and dew, a rainbow in the background, kicking the school soccer ball together. Dualities, anyone?)
I wish I were somehow able to take her from this hopeless moment in the sunshine to a time in the future when she's made her own way to somewhere better. I can't.
So I do the bit I can. I've already made out a check to the athletic association, and I tell the girl it's too late, her parent can't pull her out because the check's already in the mail, and I'm calling the parent to tell them so. (I dare them to say no to me. I was in sales before I became a therapist!)
Hopefully I can buy her a little time somewhere she can run and feel strong. Lei, the feisty heroine of my books, would approve. Nothing she hates more than child abuse.
For now, the girl runs ahead of me, kicking the ball, hope restored. Ah, the resilience of youth. Wish I felt stronger too, but my knees are killing me–so I stop to catch my breath and enjoy the rainbow.
What are some of the dualities that fascinate you? What have you done about them?
What a dreadful situation! I’m glad she’s got you doing what you can.
All too often we don’t do anything, feel powerless. Truth is most of the time we can do something however small or big.
Really hope someone take action though.
I’ll keep you posted. This is just one small story… But I came from a family with problems, and school was where I felt good. T
You are amazing. I’m glad she has you.
Oh and Lei sounds awesome :0)
Lei is awesome! Can’t wait to unleash her on the world!
And He knew where He placed you in this life. How delightful to know. A story of duality: the olive is crushed and what is left is the pure oil where the Maker looks into it and finds His face shining through it. Heartbreak strengthens and helps comfort. You are blessed.
Beautiful comment, Sonia. Aloha!
Hi, Toby. I’ve spent a fair amount of time on Oahu and understand your frustration very well. Bless you for taking action and making a positive difference. It’s wonderful to know that collectively, good people can sometimes turn the tide on wrongs and become a catalyst for change.
Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply, Al, and for stopping by the blog~. We can all do something, even a little something.
Toby, I know just how you feel. As a school bus driver for all ages, I hear many stories and have reported to CPS once. The kids remember when we show them we care and they are encouraged. Prayer is powerful when we do battle in the heavenlies as well do what we can to rescue the innocent. God bless you in your position of influence.
How awesome to hear from you Steve, and cool you are driving bus!
This is a beautiful story. Sad, dreadful situation, but still beautiful. I’d like to think that the gorgeous surroundings reflect some ray of hope. Thanks for sharing.
Toby your love and courage is beautiful… blessings to you and all you try to reach…
I was blessed to have a Toby in my life…
This is a very sad story but I am glad to hear that there are still people like you who cares more than others do.
Beautiful and desperate at the same time, like so much of life. This is such a moving post, Toby, and you’re so brave. I hope the girl gets her dream.
I know how it is to want to make a difference for someone so badly. I comfort myself with the thought that it only takes one positive interaction. You may not get to see the pay off, and it may be years before that kid realizes what a difference you made, but it only takes one. This really changed me when I read it, and maybe it will do the same for you: http://therumpus.net/2010/07/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-44-how-you-get-unstuck/
Wow. That was a kickass, down and dirty, fearless writing blitzkieg of truth.
I rarely can go there. Because I live there too often.