May 5, 2012

Feeling Those Feelings

He needs time to heal and rest.  I got a phone call from a traveler. He had been jailed for riding trains for at least a month. While he was in jail, his dog had been put down by authorities. He depends on the train, but he's afraid to ride it. He depends on the street but he wants to go home. I encouraged him to come see me. He hitch-hiked in to avoid the train.

 

When he got here, he was angry at first. He hoped I would simply become his bank account and send him by train or plane wherever he wanted to go. Once we worked through that, he was very open and contemplative. He attended services with us. He began to talk. But even as we began to connect, he began to feel the need to leave... to travel.

 

He has used drugs about half his life. He doesn't know why. However, he hasn't been on drugs for the past few months. He shared, "I am starting to feel feelings. And I don't like them." He's depressed. I asked if he knew why... "No." I asked about his childhood. "It was crappy. I didn't know it at the time, but it makes me very sad now. I don't want to think about it."

 

While he told me these things, his bodily language became visibly withdrawn. He was literally inching away. I called him back and we talked more. "I suggested to him, "What if you gave yourself some time to heal from this latest trauma with the he train and losing your dog? Time to heal and rest would be good, right?" He agreed. He added that he has a relative where he could go and do that... a place where he wouldn't be allowed to use drugs and a place that would be safe for him. We agreed that this sounded wonderful. We talked about what that would be like. "You'd probably want to let yourself feel these feelings that made you sad. And then maybe you'd want to share them with someone safe... a counselor, a friend, a pastor, ... a confident. Then maybe you could let go of them. If you keep pushing them down, you're just going to keep carrying them with you. Maybe it's time to stop traveling for a while and deal with them." He agreed, but was scared.

 

That evening he left for a train spot... a place to jump on a train. He wasn't sure whether he would be going to his relatives house (one direction) or to a place to join some other travelers who had messaged him on FaceBook (another direction). I pray for his safety... physical and emotional. I pray he finds a safe place to process his baggage so he'll be lighter for the road. I'm thankful for our relationship and pray that it continues. 

 

Pray with us for the street youth.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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