Facing Adversity (Higher Trust) ~ a Story from the Orphanage

There are such things as miracles, IMO.  Please know that the following is my experience.  I am not Catholic, am not promoting Christianity or a belief in God, but rather just tell a story and let you make up your own mind.

I was 12 years old when the state of Minnesota removed me from foster care. I was placed in a Catholic orphanage named St. James, located in Duluth, Minnesota. Having watched too many movies, I feared that nuns would cruelly rap my knuckles with a ruler if I did anything wrong.  Fortunately, that never happened. Actually, I am indebted to the Catholics for affording me the only two years of true childhood I had known. 

The orphanage had its own school within its confines. The orphanage’s educational staff believed it to be in my best interest to attend a public school, so they enrolled me in Woodland Junior High. They told me that they thought I could succeed there. I was excited to try it.

I am not sure why, but I had been grappling with and meditating upon the concepts of Agnosticism. The idea that maybe God might not exist intrigued me, but my heart and spirit objected to this. My faith in God ebbed and flowed through my younger years. When I started attending junior high school, I began to believe and have a committed faith and trust in God. Trusting and loving God made me feel extremely loved.

Although I believed in God, I did not believe in attending my math class. One fine morning, I persuaded a kid to skip class with me. We went up to a place called “The Rock”, a place where some kids would hang out sneak a cigarette, smoke pot, or simply skip math class as we were doing.

While we were talking and enjoying the morning sun, two other school kids came up to “The Rock”. When I saw them, I became frightened because one of them was a well-known bully. The bully said something mean to me, but I decided to practice my new God-centeredness and not respond. I remembered how Jesus did not take offense when someone treated him poorly. My lack of response made him angry, so he said something even crueler to me. I again chose to hold my peace. He then asked me a spiteful question, to which I remained silent.

The bully leaned over and picked up a softball-sized rock, and said that if I did not answer his question, he was going to "smash in" my face. Out of the blue I responded, “Go ahead. It won't hit me.” I was shocked at the words that just came out of my mouth. It was as if the words were not coming from me, but through me. I did indeed believe that God would protect me, yet I must admit that I still had fear. The bully looked taken aback at my response, and then demanded, “Why not?” To which I answered, “Because God won't let it”.

Fear crept into the bully's face; he glanced at his visibly frightened friend, and then looked back at me. I saw a hardness creep back into his face that reflected an unwillingness to bear humiliation and fear in front of his friend. With his right hand, the bully raised the stone up, and leaning back much like a baseball pitcher, launched the stone straight at my face. The bully was perhaps 15 feet away from me when he threw the rock.

As the rock flew straight toward my face, I almost flinched. My instinct was to move my head and avoid the oncoming rock. Instead, I chose to trust God, which led to a solid calm within me. As the rock came at me, it seemed to be moving in slow motion. I watched the rock’s trajectory change in a graceful curve away from my face, gliding past my right cheekbone by a narrow margin. Had I flinched per my instinct, I would have moved into the path of that rock.

The bully gawked at me with obvious astonishment. I locked my grateful and confident eyes on his. His little friend looked both fearful and amazed at what he had witnessed. He also looked relieved. As for the bully, he turned on his heel and walked briskly away with his friend in tow.

I rejoiced in my heart for the protection that God offered me that day. I will never forget it. I am happy at this opportunity to witness to you, the reader, that trust in God produces results in the bridge of perception. The beautiful and sometimes invisible shield of safety that God gives to those who believe has astounded people for centuries.

I wonder what, if any, difference it made in the lives of the three young people who witnessed what happened that day. I am curious if it became part of the bully and his friend’s testimony or not? I guess I will never know for sure, but I do know it has become part of my life story.

My experience is that God is a loving God whose power aids those who want it. I hope and pray this story will gracefully turn aside any ‘rock’ thrown you way; may God’s love grace your heart and life with a testimony of trust in the midst of adversity.

Here’s to Living in the Soul-ution!