I believe in excorcisms; not the Catholic Church, head twisting-around and lurching forward split-pea soup kind from the movie “The Excorcist”. I’m talking about excorcisms of the past.
I work in a group home with teenage boys who have seen and still believe in monsters and demons. Past traumas and bouts with depression added to the strict regimen of psychotropic medications these young men are on can often cause a extra-surreal environment to witness the rearing of a young man.
There are no parents around these parts; only staff. Sometimes that’s a good thing. One young man told me about how his step-mother used to hold his feet down over the burners on a gas stove in his old house. His father was away from the home when it happened. The young man said that nobody believed him when he tried to tell. I found this out only after watching the young man punch a brick wall for over half an hour. His dislike for masonry wasn’t at issue. He was just performing his own excorcism. I guess you can say he wasn’t so much losing his religion; more like beating it, to a bloody pulp.
Lee, another young man I work with, once went on a profanity laced tirade against me for blaming him for hiding a set of electric hair clippers (which he would later confess that he did indeed hide, and I could tell because of the million dollar Cheshire-Cat smile he had on his face as I kept at him about it). He went on to tell me that I was worthless and that I was terrible at my job because I didn’t care. He entered my attack-zone (which is residential care speak for up-in-my-face) and told me that he wasn’t going to listen to me because I was going to leave him like everybody else had. I saw the tears stream down his 16 year old cheaks. And all I could do was hug him. He cried in my shoulder and excorcised his fear of abandonment…for that night at least.
So, I do believe in excorcisms. And the next time you run into someone who works with at-risk youth don’t ask them how difficult the kids they work with can be. Ask them if they’ve seen any demons lately.
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