In like a lamb, out like a lion

In like a lamb and out like a lion is generally how I would describe Evan. He’s a sweet 21 year old youth who has been in and out of the foster care system all of his life. When thinking about him, he is just a little guy in size with not much weight to his body; however he carries with him a ferocious temper that has often brought him much trouble.

When Evan gets all rauled up, he has trouble seeing anything logically anymore and emotions will drive his feelings beyond any rationale. I have known Evan over his many stays at our shelter but recently he has been discarded from using the shelter because of a few anger attacks he has had. I still see Evan often as he accesses Covenant House frequently through our drop in center.

During one Monday afternoon at work, I received a call from the hospital and it’s Evan. He’s crying like a little child because of how much pain he is in. He shares with me in a little shaky voice how he has spent the whole weekend there because of an abscess that has developed on his buttocks. (Evan often would get abscesses on his body as a side effect from his drug use.)

My heart went out to Evan because he does have such a sweet heart and he had no one to look after him or pick him up from the hospital. Within a matter of minutes, myself and another outreach worker made our way down to the hospital to pick up Evan. When we saw him, he could barely walk because of the wound from the surgery he had undergone.

My partner and I helped Evan back to his hotel room on Vancouver’s east side. When we entered the hotel lobby we quickly discovered Evan’s room was on the 9th floor and there wasn’t an elevator. Looking at Evan’s condition, he could barely walk so stairs wasn’t an option. My partner and I looked around for possible solutions to the problem and finally came up with the idea of carrying Evan up to his room on a chair.

We made it up the first couple of flights of stairs but quickly discovered our plan wouldn’t work. Evan’s face was displaying excruciating pain and tears were streaming down his face. My heart broke for him as he was trying so hard to be a trooper. The seat of the chair was pressing against Evan’s surgery wound so we decided to remove it and allow Evan to rest on the chair’s frame.

The hotel manager came to give us a hand and followed from behind as we attempted again to carry Evan up the remaining flights of stairs. As I looked upon Evan as he was carried I saw that every movement was tearing into him. I didn’t know what else we could do to alleviate some of the pain so as the men continued to carry him, and the tears continued to flow, I asked him if he wanted my hand to hold.

He looked at my eyes and with a shaking hand reached out to mine and grasped it. It was a memorable moment for me as we journeyed for the next 30 minutes up those stairs. I felt as though my hand was going to break as the pain Evan was feeling was being channeled through his hand and clamping onto mine.

When we finally reached Evan’s room, he fell onto his bed both exhausted and relieved. Evan looked at us with so much gratitude and thanked us so many times. Before we left, we made sure he was all set up with supplies. I gave him his bandages for changing, hygiene supplies we brought from the hospital, stocked his fridge with groceries, and provided him with clean underwear.

It was so rewarding for my coworker and I as Evan trusted us in his vulnerable state, like a small child, and reached to the only people he knew would accept him with unconditional love. On that day we realized again, the significance of what we do as we saw it in Evan’s eyes.