A few of you may have read my blog about Jean. I mentioned that she had a boyfriend and I would blog about him later- well now is later! I will call him Ross.
Every once in awhile, I'll meet someone-or even a family member-who I know is in my life for a reason. That was the case with Ross.I knew there was something about him that I could help- I call it extreme faith.
Ross and Jean began dating- I first noticed them in church one night- remember we were taking an interest in Jean? Ross was easy to notice- he was much younger than Jean, bald, and had ALOT of tattoos- the most noticeable being swastikas. Now I honestly try not to judge people- I am the first to not cast the stones- but he looked a little rough around the edges.
That night Jean asked for prayers that Ross find work. I did not think much about it- spoke to them momentarily after church and left. For several weeks they came- same scenario. Then it dawned on me that we needed some rock work done- and I for one and not about shoveling 500 pounds of pea gravel in the dog area- so Jen and I talked about it and we decided to let Ross come do some work for us.
Ross began working for us- he shoveled rock, put up some fence, mowed, and did some general stuff. We got to know him. He was nothing like what I thought he would be. He has a Southern drawl- and was always very respectful to me- very kind to our animals, and nice to the kids. He grew on me. During one week, we were gone and Ross and another one of our workers were going to be handling things. Ross had Jean's daughter also help and they cleaned things up around the yard- he told me he wanted it to look great when I go home. Just took it upon himself to do what needed to be done. In the process he started a small fire in our dumpster to burn some weeds and bushes he had cleared out- totally legal here and a very common thing to do- however the fire got away from him and he melted the rubber lids on the trash can. Not the end of the world. No one was hurt- but he was scared to tell me. When I got home he was sure I would fire him and he was distraught.
I did not- I owed him money for his work- I appreciated all he had done to help take care of my animals and my place, so I rounded up his pay and he ended up with about $40 extra. I did not deduct the fire damage from his pay- I thanked him and told Ross I would see him next week. No worries.
Ross told Jean that I blessed him- that was different- I had not looked at it this way- but because of my blessing, Ross was then able to pass some on to Jean's daughter for helping him. Ross was amazed that not everyone in this world is out to do him harm- and it made me think about the small things we do can have such a huge affect on another person.
After a short time he and Jean got into some altercation and he was arrested. I am in no way minimizing what he may or may not have done, but because of his rough appearance- he was treated harshly and eventually sentenced to a year in jail.
Jean asked me to go to his court hearings, so I did. He wrote me and I wrote him back. He and Jean eventually went their separate ways- but I continued to write to Ross. I have been writing to him for about 9 months now and he has taught me so much. I have learned what a kind and gentle soul he has. Under all that ink, he still hurts, and loves, and has the same wants that we all do. He puts on a rough front- but he has had a hard life and that is what he felt he needed to do to survive. My friend Ann though we were crazy to give him a chance and have him work for us- but I am so blessed that I did. I consider him a very good friend now. He does not judge my lifestyle- he does not make fun of my kids because they have 2 female parents, his letters make me laugh. He loves the Lord and wonders what lessons he is supposed to learn from all of this.
I too had a rough childhood, (another blog), my parents sent me away, I was raised with an alcoholic Mother, my parents divorced, I had some cruel and very hurtful ugly things happen to me (I won't write about them because my son's may read this someday), but things happen to all of us that could so easily change the course of our lives, Ross was dealt a different hand of cards and he wears some of that on the outside of his body- so that people will stay away and not try to get close to him- he is protecting himself from being hurt- again. The tattoos are an outward expression an inward feeling.
I hope people think about Ross the next time you come across someone that might not fit the mold that society places on folks. I may not believe the same things that Ross does- but I don't have to- I treated him with compassion, and kindness- he asks me all the time why him? Why do I take the time to write to him? He asks what did he do to deserve me?- I ask myself the same question about him. Thank you Ross for your friendship and may the road that lies in your future, be easier then the roads of your past. I pay your troubles will not define you.
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