When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. It can be easy to dish criticism about websites not updated or volunteer projects that seem to be behind schedule, when sometimes, the first thought shouldn't be that the volunteer is lazy, but rather than they're overwhelmed, facing a personal crisis, etc.
In fact, more often than not, I find that to be the case.
Now, spin this in a different direction. When I saw that a boy had inflated 213 balloons with his nose to try to gain a world record, half of me thought kids will be kids and the other half wondered if some day, he'd be embarrassed to be known for doing such a juvenile thing.
Then, I looked through the headlines, realized a volunteer at a church I have attended (not as a member, but a regular guest) has been charged with sexual assault. Puts it in perspective, doesn't it? What would you rather be known for?
There is part of me that is reserving judgment until the outcome of the trial. The timing of this news is a bit eerie, because it is two weeks until WHAT BURNS WITHIN comes out, and the interview on Pulp Pusher (which was done months ago) includes a question and some commentary that speaks directly to this: DS: Besides the police and fire departments, the book has a lot to say about social institutions such as social services, girl guides and the church. Was this intentional?
SR: It’s hard to say on everything. You don’t realise you’re doing it until you’ve done it.
Using the church group was more deliberate, as the youth pastor is automatically a suspect because he’s male. Writing about the church you bring in aspects of forgiveness. I had a church background – and have since left, by the way. But I saw cases of pastors accused of sexual impropriety. The accusations destroyed their careers. Something like that can devastate a life.
Here's to more kids being kids, and less heart-wrenching news, because the number of alleged victims certainly suggests this volunteer wasn't being appropriate... and no matter what comes out in the wash now - even if he is innocent - this will forever taint his life, and it isn't just about his life: the victims in this case will be scarred by how this affects them for years to come.
And with a court case in the works, it will be a long time before the journey to healing fully begins.