Extraction

As I sat on the couch, mere inches from the one who had just perpetrated abuse upon my child, murderous rage filled me to the point my hands were shaking. I was aware of the loaded 9mm on the headboard in the next room, though wisely, I made no move to retrieve it.

I continued sitting there, unable to move, to think, to make any rational plan but I could not shut off my emotions. Hatred washed over me, wave upon wave. I wanted him dead.

The words above were not lifted from a novel or movie. The words above are mine. They describe a painful event in my life and the life of my only child, who was less than two years old at the time.

And in that terrible moment, God spoke something to me I will never forget. As rage turned to grief, leaving me physically weak, comfort came again with that still, small voice that said:

“I had to watch them beat my Son too.”

I was stunned as the reality of those words hit me. I had never thought about the sufferings of Jesus in that way before…

The tenderness with which God spoke told me, in the deepest part of my being, just how totally and completely He understood what I and my daughter were going through – and I knew we were not alone.

I don’t remember how I got to the kitchen before the tears came. I only remember being at the sink with the water running to mask the sound. It simply was not safe to cry in front of my husband.

I believe the survival instinct and a parent’s instinct to protect their child are two of the most powerful forces on earth that will ever spring from the human will.

When a parent’s desire to protect and defend is in some way blocked or denied, the pain is almost unbearable. I cannot begin to imagine the torment being experienced by Dzhokhar’s parents day after day…

Recently, I saw a documentary on what prisoners endure each time they have to leave their cell for any reason. They call it “extraction.” You and I would call it psychological torture. God calls it sin. All of us are correct. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand its purpose.

First, it perpetuates the myth that all prisoners are extremely dangerous.

Maybe in a darkened alley with a loaded gun, to someone walking home from the bus, they were. Maybe when they were high on drugs and holding a knife, alone with a pregnant wife half their size, they were. Maybe with five of their fellow gang members, to the unsuspecting rookie cop leaving the convenience store at the end of his shift, they were. Maybe, before they were horribly and permanently injured by police brutality, they were.

But alone, in a tiny, barren cell where no contraband can possibly exist due to the sterility and hyper-vigilance of the Super Max, outnumbered by guards six to one, standing unarmed, with guns pointed at their heads … not so much.

Second, if the one being extracted cannot manage, over time, to hold onto their humanity and sense of self in the face of such cruel and unnecessary indignity, the repeated experience of extraction can foster a murderous rage.

And then the guards might have something to worry and be wary about. Then the guards might have real justification for the way they treat prisoners who are at their mercy. Then the guards might be able to go home and sleep peacefully at night, having finally convinced themselves that they are not the real monsters.

When emotions are running high, when you are paralyzed by fear and your brain slows down to a crawl, its hard to pray and even harder to remember long passages from the Bible.

For most of us, it’s hard to do that when everything is hunky dory. For that reason, my favorite verses of Scripture are very short. One that I find myself going to again and again in times of crisis is just two words.

“Thou knowest.”

Those two words from Jeremiah 15 are enough to impact me every time I remember them, no matter how deep my pain or strong my emotions. When I tell you why this is so, you just might find yourself reaching for them the next time you are between a rock and hard place.

But now, picture this: You need someone else to do something for you that you cannot do for yourself. So you ask; then you wait.

Time passes and your request has yet to be acted on. You return to the person you asked for help and remind them of your request. Invariably you will hear the following two-word response: “I know.”

When man says “I know” it does not mean the same as when God says it.

When someone reminds us we still need to do something we promised to do and we respond to that reminder with the words “I know” we are usually 1) expressing annoyance at the reminder and/or 2) buying time until we have to drop what we are doing and fulfill the request. We are not implying we will jump up at that very moment and do as we promised. Anyone who has been a teenager or raised one knows how true that statement is – so that should be all of us. And sadly, it is not a habit we outgrow.

Over the years, I have learned that who God is, what He says and what He does are interchangeable. His character governs his actions. His word stands.

The Bible says God is not a man that He should lie. He never says one thing and does another, though the devil will try to make you think that, based on how screwed up situations often get before they get better.

God can be trusted! You won’t learn that truth firsthand unless you find yourself in a situation where you need to trust Him because you can’t fix the problem yourself and neither can anybody else.

The Bible says God is a very present help in time of trouble. You can bet that every time the guards come to extract Dzhokhar from his cell, God is there. He protected Dzhokhar on the streets of Watertown, in the boat and on the ground beside that boat. He’s not going to suddenly stop now. Though He is allowing Dzhokhar to suffer, and suffer intensely, I know there is a time limit and a boundary beyond which this evil will not go.

God knows and because He knows, He is already at work doing something about righting the wrong for Dzhokhar. When His work on Dzhokhar’s behalf is complete, we will see what He has been up to.

9 thoughts on “Extraction”

  1. With a heavy heart did read your post, Lynn, and I admire your courage to write about the pain that you and your child must have endured at the hands of your husband! I know from my heart that you have always protected your child the best you could. You are surely the best mother a child can wish for.
    Sometimes we are not prepared to be betrayed and violated by those who seem closest to us.
    You are so strong that you even protect and become an amazing advocate for Dzhokhar.
    Thank you for sharing your post and
    Blessings to you and your family.
    Heike

    1. I confess it was not an easy decision to write that story. The decision to make that man my ex-husband was much easier, tho once the decision was made it was extremely difficult to implement. Thank you Heike for your kind words, tho I am not convinced I deserve them.

  2. Yes Lynn, prison guards certainly need to remember those words “Whatsoever you do to the least of these you have done unto Me.” Job or no job they should have the integrity to stand up and say no, I won’t do that. (If Hitler’s men had done that there would have been no holocaust). The guards very soul is on the line and they should be very concerned about that.

  3. So deeply felt Lynn and we can all relate to suffering and pain. It’s hard to even think about Dzhokhar enduring all that. I want to believe that prison guards started out as good people trying to find a way to support their families, and likely had no idea what barbaric and cruel things they would be forced to do in order to keep their job. As time goes on they too must become damaged, their heart , soul and mind become hard and I can’t imagine that most of them are not full of guilt for the damage and pain they have done to other human beings. Maybe Dzhokhar will be able to soften them with his gentle and kind personality. They must know that he does not belong there. Yes, God knows, He sees and hears all, and He is there too working on all this needless unwarranted inhumane treatment and one day it will change. The Netherland countries, who are obviously more evolved, have figured this out already and are a shining example of compassion and humanity to other countries. We need to get involved in prison reform by joining groups already working on this. The compassion of many many people speaking out about this is the only way to bring change. The US gov has clearly not evolved at all in centuries.

    1. The U.S. has evolved but in the wrong direction. This country grows more and more evil and therefore weaker and weaker. Prison reformer: I can think of no better way to obey Jesus words “Whatsoever you do to the least of these you have done unto Me.” Prison guards would do well to remember those words too.

  4. I opened the blog post early in the morning with the intention to check out what it is all about and leave it for later reading, and could not stop until the end of it. Great insights on the feelings of a parent and a child, all children of the Divine. Yes, suffering has it’s purpose. However, it is not intended to kill, it is intended to teach. Good students are rewarded greatly, Dzhokhar is the greatest I know. Great post, Lynn!

    1. Dzhokhar certainly has my respect and admiration too. I continue to be amazed that he is able to endure. God’s power is certainly keeping him!

  5. This blog speaks from the heart and soul Lynn. That I do believe….I know. I know how much Jahar has suffered and I know it is not over yet. That young man has endured and been through so much. For each passing day my heart aches knowing he’s in a bad place he does not belong. God does have a plan for him and I know it is something good. Whether it is tomorrow, 10 years from now or even far in the future I know he is God’s child and will smile again one day. SAMS alone is complete torture. I ask myself ” has he not suffered enough”? When will this pain and anguish end. How many more times can this boy cheat death to prove he is here to stay….I know when….when God says. Great blog Lynn!!! Fantastic writing as always!

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