Friday, November 4, 2011

Love Stories: Worth It

This is a post I wrote while completing an internship at an adolescent substance abuse group home. It's about loving your enemies, realizing those who aren't so far from being your enemy type thing. It's one of my most dearest reminders of how I want to love those who are not so easy to love at times.

I hung this little inspiration wire of photos and things from Indiana. While I know I miss home, I haven't really had to think about it until today. I'm surrounded by gorgeous mountains and beaches. I've eaten the most amazing food and pretty much have been so distracted that I don't let my thoughts go there. By no means is it bad homesickness. I'm still so blessed to be here and excited to experience God's plan. But at this moment, I wouldn't mind being in my own room upstairs at my little farm house opposed to living in a group home for adolescents struggling with substance abuse.

I am learning.

The girls were more intense this shift, but there are good days and hard days. This one was a little more of a struggle, I guess.

But don't get me wrong, I've seen glimmers of love and hope. I hurt for these girls and their experiences. I want to stand up to those who tell them they can't graduate, or won't amount to anything, or that they are addicts.

At church this past year, Pastor DeNeff explored the meaning and significance of enemies. He opened my eyes to a more realistic understanding of an enemy and especially what it means to love your enemies. I think I'm learning that here. On off days, some of these girls know how to cut you down. From their words to their threats to their refusal of treatment, they push you to the line where you want to walk away. And, in those moments, my first reaction is to wish them the worst, write them off like everyone else, and become so frustrated that they won't let me walk alongside them in their treatment.

The thing is I can't give up. No, I'm not going to do their treatment for them. But I can continue to show them endless love and care. I remind them that unlike everyone else (perhaps, their parents, teachers, or juvenile hall) that I am not giving up on them. And most of all, even in their screw ups and whatever state they're in right now, I'm going to keep loving them.

I'm learning how to change my thoughts, feelings, and attitude. I'm hurt, but I'm not turning away. I'm frustrated, but I'll continue to be there. If they're angry, I'll give them space. Even though sometimes I want to send them back to the juvenile hall, I'm going to try to fight and encourage them to stay here in rehab, to give it a chance, to at least try. No matter how they treat me, I hope they prosper and fight against those who put them down or tell them they won't amount anything. I hope they go to college, and find someone who cares and protects them, and that they find happiness in the midst of so many depressing thoughts and experiences.

They are worth it.

Emilie Hoffman

See the previous Love Stories here! If you would like to submit your story, please send an e-mail to You may attach up to 5 photos. Please try to keep your stories to a 1200 word limit. You will receive an e-mail when your story is selected.


Unknown said...

I really enjoying reading your post. What a beautiful sentiment and incredibly experience.


Emilie said...

Thanks, Shannon! It was. I'll never forget those six girls.