The little boy was sitting on the steps of the church, visibly hurt. Visibly in pain, even if his wounds were only bleeding deep inside the very core of his heart. Trying so hard to be angry instead of being sad.
Because boys don’t cry.
Not even when love is replaced with threats and manipulative promises.
So, when I took his hand in mine, he pulled away. With dust on his palms and face, with a recent scar, hidden behind his curtain of careless hair, he decided to take this mask and make it his own nature. Feeding the hurt with offensive words. Pushing away any attempt to melt his wild desperation.
Because boys don’t need hugs.
Not even when silence and solitude are strongly embracing their souls.
In simple words, spoken harshly and brief, he said he’s not interested. Faith. He spoke the word with hate. But he confessed the crime, expecting a punishment. Expecting rejection, yelling, abuse, fear. Hatred.
“Yes, I did it! I’m the one who broke the crucifix! Because He’s no longer my friend! And I wanted Him to feel the way I’m feeling.”
I asked him about his feelings, but he started to laugh.
Because boys don’t talk about their emotions.
Not even when it’s almost too late.
I knew that words are not enough for him. Even if they were, I still wouldn’t know what to say. I’m not that good with words. He wasn’t going to accept me, my words, my hugs, my care. So I just sit there, with him, in silence. On the stairs of the church. But the waiting game was never my favorite.
And God knew that.
So he sent us a gentle rain, through golden rays and chirping birds. Through tears and broken hearts. And, at some point, the little boy looked at me with hope. And we spoke about super heroes and their magical powers.
“What’s the point? They’re only in our imagination.”
“Well, I know for sure that one of them is real.”
“Yeah, right. Me. The only hero left…”
He wiped away his tears and headed home. To make the right choices, just like heroes do. To save his family and to restore love and protection as unbreakable laws. To rediscover his faith. Like every modern hero would. Like every true man should.
And if some day, any day, the hurt little boy inside his heart will destroy another crucifix, that’s okay too. He’ll surely find forgiveness and love, grace and blessing. As long as he believes.
Dedicated to the heroes disguised in black sheep.