Tuesday, December 12, 2006


The Sledgehammer weighed 10 kilos and we were planning to use it on the door of a young persons room in our 150 bed YMCA Hostel.

John had barricaded his room and it had all gone quiet for some time.
We were worried because of his threatened suicide.
“John we are worried about you – just make a noise – turn on the radio – anything to tell us you are O.K.”.
We left it for a short while.

John doesn’t communicate.
He can speak but life has damaged him in such a way that he does not relate.
It has taken six months of saying “Hello John” and raising my thumbs with a smile to get him to produce a slight waving of his thumb.
At nineteen he walks slowly around as if in desperate fear.

Time was up –
“John - we have to break down the door so do not be afraid of the noise,”
said Dave our youngest Professional who works closely and affirming with him. The door was smashed out of its frame – painful noise permeating all eleven floors. It had to be knocked downwards, being held inside the room by a bed against bottom.
Eventually I lifted the splintered door out of the horrible gap with a range of fearful expectations in my heart. The room was in darkness – everthing in it smashed up.
John was standing in the farthest corner – crying – shaking with his sobs.
“Don’t worry John, you are O.K. now” said Dave “it’s you we are concerned about”.

Dave stepped in and sat on the floor midst all the debris. Not too close - not too far away.
John settled a little and sat on the end of his bed.
Then the real work began.

I went for cups of tea and biscuits – John likes biscuits.
I left Dave to do the close work and to comfort ......

There is no such a thing as a
difficult person

difficult behaviour

“Dave sat on the floor and John sat on the bed”

....... I delight in this picture from a few years ago - stamped in my mind.
Dave had sat below John,
in the rubble of a smashed room,
taking the position of vulnerability…………..
.......I weep as I conclude – joy and sadness.

See from his head, his hands, his feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.