59 seconds.

59 seconds.

Jen and I were up in her room. Her timeouts always spent together. Partly because it’s recommended by experts for kids with trauma history. Partly because she wouldn’t stay in her room if an adult wasn’t blocking the door.

I told Jen that we could go down together after she had been calm for one minute. Just sixty seconds without yelling, flailing or bolting for the door.

She screamed back, “59 seconds!”

When I insisted on a full 60, she demanded 61.

Sadly, her need for control isn’t far from my own. Though my decibel level might not vacillate so widely. And I like to think I would catch myself before suggesting more than the required consequence.

But I can’t be too sure.

I like my way. Sometimes just because it’s mine.

I struggle to let another lead without my eyes open to ensure I agree with the path taken. Occasionally on car rides, I bite my tongue before re-routing my husband who has a deep love for small roads and an infinitely better sense of direction than I do.

The truth is he likes his way too. Most of us do.

But most of don’t have the history Jen does. A lifetime of lies, neglect and predictably rotten decisions by the adults in her life. Her caretakers.

How does she possibly learn to trust when those of us who don’t have such a painful past can’t?


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  1. Ursula

    Very thought-provoking writing Liz. My heart breaks at the thought of what some of these precious kids have had to endure. Thank you for doing what you do!

  2. MLF

    Yep, “my” way/ideas/choices always seem to be the best…. And you are right that it is about trust. Continuing to pray for God’s healing power in the children’s lives. Your reflections touch my heart, make me think, and rethink…and pray.

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