He comes in every day angry. It’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about him. Angry. Angry at the bus driver. Angry at the teacher. Angry at me when I have to handle situations that involve him. Just angry. I can’t imagine living life angry.

On second thought, I can’t imagine experiencing life the way he does either. You know what...after a long hard glance, I think I might be pretty angry too. I can’t really even begin to relate.

I had it pretty good as a ten year old. We were middle class Americans in a small town. My family, both immediate and extended, loved me. We had good friends that we shared life with in a nice, comfortable, little neighborhood. My parents took us to church on a regular basis and we had a family there that loved us and cared about us. When we were sick, people brought food. When we had an emergency, there were people willing to help. We learned about love, compassion, grace, and mercy. We learned about community. I never lacked for people to hug me.

They say it takes a village to raise children successfully. Looking back, I had a pretty good-sized village.

Yeah...the more I look at it, I really can’t relate. I can’t relate to parents that don’t spend time with their kids. I can’t relate to sitting out in the cold and rain because the adults are using drugs in the house. I can’t relate to parents viewing school as babysitting instead of a place to receive an education. I can’t relate to a child who sees everyone around them being loved and wonders why they don’t get to experience that the same way it seems everyone else does.

I think I am beginning to understand all the anger. The picture is a life, a mind, a heart so covered in darkness...it’s never even been able to experience light. That’s the sad reality that too many children face today. Complete, utter darkness. Hopeless.

Believe it or not, in rare moments of life, there is someone who somehow can bring it out. That is what makes her special. She can make him smile, make him feel comfortable, welcome. She can change his environment, and his attitude follows. She can bring out a small piece of him that no one else can. She is his teacher. And she does it with her heart. She does it with love.

It reminds me of the words of the Spirit in John 1:4-5. “In Him was life and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

This is why he smiles. This is why his demeanor, even though temporary, changes its tone. The darkness can’t comprehend why she would love him. He has only been taught that he isn’t worth loving. But...she loves him anyway. I see Jesus in that. I believe there is hope after all.

Adam Walker