My father is the sweetest, most kind-hearted man you’ll encounter; so any memory or story of him losing his cool seems a bit foreign to me.
About 20 years ago, he was a crisis counselor at a school for girls. Not a snooty, high-brow, preppy kind of school…nope. These are girls who are knocking at the back door of the prison system if left without some sort of guidance.
Average in stature, Daddy would often find himself looking up into the eyes of some of these teenage residents. One young woman in particular had no problem asserting her sizable advantage over him. Just to assure everyone in the room she meant business, she decidedly peppered her language toward him…punctuated by a rather gross act: she spat in my father’s face.
Still defiant, the girl sat in a chair; her wrists cuffed and her body restrained to the seat in order to keep everyone else in the room safe. Daddy took that opportunity to remind the girl who exactly was in charge, pointing his finger in her face, telling her “he owed her one”, for what she’d done.
But something curious happened when he left the room to fill out paperwork and, essentially, cool off. It was during this cooling off that he heard the voice of his Heavenly Father, who reminded Daddy why he was on this particular ‘assignment’ in the first place…and that he could assert Holy Strength in the face of demonic activity.
“I made you to be a man of gentleness and meekness,” Daddy heard the Lord say. “That in no way means that you are weak. I made you to be more than a conqueror.”
It was at that moment that Daddy repented and told a colleague that he planned to apologize to the girl.
“No, Al,” the co-worker said. “that will make you look weak in their eyes.”
But Dad decided that obedience was better than self preservation and pride.
His move-and I’m totally not kidding in this-not only garnered this girl’s respect; when another resident tried the same behavior, girl #1 got between girl #2 and Dad and championed him…with a few cringe-worthy suggestions of what would surely happen if Dad was harmed. (I can totally see Daddy looking at the girl with a wry “thanks for the solidarity, but I’ve got this” LOL).
At the end of his tenure, my father was one of the most well respected counselors at the facility, all because he chose to remember that it’s more of a manly act to treat people with respect than to simply default to brute force.
…and the meek shall inherit the earth…even in a tough detention center.