This week on a very cold pre-dawn Augusta morning I found myself standing outside waiting to clear security. There were many people standing around and one near me I overheard. This person was relaying a story to another pair of nearby ears about an inmate who was trying to get this person to give them something. The inmates request, which I did not catch, was somehow unreasonable and as such denied. Their response was to say, “I’ll cut.”
So in order to manipulate one there to help them they would harm themselves. That is not a very good strategy, and the prison worker made it plain that the inmate had not gotten what they were after.
While I was reading chapter 7 in Steel’s Blue book this week a similar thing happened. It was not phrased quite the same, but let me paint a shortened version of this chapter’ background. In chapter 6 Ginny had had to go off to Afghanistan on one of her trips. Blue dropped out of school and the house he had been staying in heading back to the streets.
Blue, though, really did like the stability, structure, another to depend upon that he had with Ginny and so returned hat in hand, humble to re-enter the word Ginny had begun to build for him.
In their conversation Blue said something an awful lot like the inmate did. He told Ginny that he did not believe her when she said would come back. The similarity to the inmate came when Blue told Ginny that his decisions did not matter because Ginny was gone; had left him. It was as he if said, “because you left me what I did with the advantages you gave me did not matter.” That was Blue’s self-destructive outlook talking. It was a bit of a blame game.
See, Ginny had gone to great lengths to set Blue up for the time she was gone with a place to stay and a school to attend. He had been removed from the streets. His decisions did matter. He had been given great advantage, a leg-up, a lucky break, to phrase it like Steel does here and there.
Ginny did not lose her cool or disparage him. She merely pointed out that there were things that seemed to be “stupid,” but which were the making of a good next step. His bad decisions had nothing to do with Ginny. They were his and he made them.
While I was on the Elliptical this week I was watching Season 1, Episode 14 of Person of Interest. There was a fellow in that episode named Darren and there were some similarities to Blue and Ginny, decisions bad and good, opportunities given that must be acted upon. John Reese who has been a Ginny of sorts to Darren said near the end of the episode, “Darren, we don’t get to choose what happens to us…just what we do about it.”
Scared people need consistency and pursuit
Blue had had repetitive damage throughout his life. He had learned not to trust anyway, and applied that to one he would have done well to trust: Ginny. She was a pursuer, and forgiving. Repetitive damage can produce a downward spiral of choices. If we find ourselves in a place like Ginny we must be wise, not throwing out whole situations, or people even, on one set-back.
Scared people sometimes meet helping people
If we find ourselves in places like Blue we need to struggle hard against the notion that all will do us dirty, or leave us high dry, or sell us down the river. There may be many like that, but be ready for a Ginny to come along too.
Be vigilant against manipulation
The inmate and Blue both had destructive tendencies. Both tended to say my bad decisions are your fault. If and when this charge is levied against us we must reject it and not go soft. For the social worker type person who was working with that inmate to cave to his threat to harm himself and give him what he wants would not be good for either of them. Ginny stood strong. She was wiser and older and though not devoid of problems she saw the direction Blue had to head in order to rise above the drag of his local community. She heard him, did not reject him, and she gave a structure pushing him back toward what she knew to be important for his own good.
There were other things I found important in this chapter:
- Blue said goodbye to his old way of life after agreeing to Ginny’s demand
- Ginny said hello to the old when they went through the boxes. She faced her sadness and loss beginning to resurrect to herself memories of what Chris and Mark had been.
- Ginny also re-embraced life by getting her house in order.
- Ginny told Blue that she would not ‘make’ him do things her way. She offered he had to follow.
Some Christian facets to this
People will fail us. Blue’s experience is not unique and if we find ourselves like Blue who are we going to turn to? The Bible says there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. It is Jesus. The verse is Proverbs 18:24
- Ginny had to leave and Blue had to stay. It could be a great source of strength to her to be able to leave Blue to God.
- Ginny’s compassion and interest, her pursuit and desire for good things for Blue is Godly.
- God is a sufficient help and he gives a way for us. When he gives us advantages we must accept them even if we don’t like them. Think Blue and school.
Other entries in this series