“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

The best part of blogging is making new friends. People from all over the world have read my posts and added their comments. One of my devoted readers is Jen Denevan. She sent me this quote and the more I study it the more it relates to my work with foster children.

I experience the extremes of hatred and love almost daily. I hear horrible stories of abuse, neglect and hatred from way too many of the kids I meet. My response is to listen, acknowledge their emotions and look for a way to show them love. Given that I am their guardian for only a few hours a week, this is almost an impossible task. With the littlest ones it involves a lot of eye contact, smiling and hugs. Their eagerness for affection is my only confirmation that I’m getting through to them. That and when they run up and grab my leg while they wait to be picked up and carried to the car. I can’t begin to tell you how good it feels to have a three-year-old cling to my neck for all she’s worth. If I get close enough I can see a flame in those eyes that’s just waiting to be kindled by someone like me.

With the older kids it is much harder to make the connection. They are incredibly broken and untrusting of others. They hide their emotions behind a wall of me-first arrogance in a feeble attempt to cope with a world that is mostly out of their control. More often than not the toughest ones have no use for an old man like me. Some girls will not even agree to be transported by a male. It breaks my heart to think I won’t even get the chance to reach out to these isolated children. Hatred is a powerful emotion that hardens people into bitter denizens of a dark, dark world where the light of love never shines. I still haven’t figured out a good way to show them the power of love or give them a reason to try. I’m not sure Martin Luther King could even speak to these kids in words that would stir their positive emotions and give them hope for a better future.

As I read this quote over and over again, it reinforces everything I try to do each day. These kids are paralyzed, confused and living in the darkest shadows but somehow we must keep trying to bring them closer to the light in the sincere hope they can find their way out. Those of us who enjoy the benefits of loving relationships have to show the way to those without. Martin Luther King will always be remembered for his leadership and sacrifice for the cause of civil rights and his ability to illuminate the path we all must follow if we are ever going to make the world a better place for all mankind.

Thanks Jen, for giving me so much to think about and the encouragement to keep trying.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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2 Responses to “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

  1. stormy1812 says:

    It’s so difficult to teach love to those who haven’t had it. It’s such a vague concept it has to be felt and if it hasn’t been, it’s difficult to relate to. This becomes even more difficult when so many years of life have been lived without it but that doesn’t make it impossible. Those things you’re teaching the kids, even the ones who have the hardest time, are walking away with something. I’m willing to guess that at least some of your more difficult cases will remember you and what you did for them even if at the time it doesn’t seem like it. Your work is difficult but it’s very honorable.

    • grhgraph says:

      I really enjoyed starting with this quote in mind. So much of what I do is very hard to explain to the outside world and frankly most people prefer not to know. Which means I have very few outlets for the thoughts I am left with every day. The worst part is not knowing what becomes of the kids I reached out to. Are they better off? Did I make any difference? Do I need to do more? Those kinds of questions haunt me when I’m alone with my thoughts. Writing this blog is just about the only avenue I have to express my deepest feelings. I only wish more people, like yourself, would join the conversation and give me better things to think about. I don’t want all the pain and suffering around me to infect my own personality and outlook on life. That’s why I write such funny stuff occasionally, it’s a release valve for too much angst. So Jen, if you need another challenge, find me a quote that I can make fun of and use my best satire. I know I can count on you.

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