A boy’s trauma, one man’s violence and how two men want to heal the world – Part 2
In Part 1, I described the wounding Scott Harrison and I experienced and how it led to heightened separation, anger, and violence. Here I will examine the relationship between trauma in our families of origin and later violence in our lives in more detail.
Violence against ourselves and others is common among men who have experienced trauma. The adrenaline rush and hunger to fill a void we don’t even know is there can become a potent and addicting drug. It can lead to death and destruction, or for those with healing assistance and some luck, it can lead us on a journey of transformation.
Scott became a success too, but with a heavy undercurrent. “I rose through the ranks of New York nightlife to become one of the best club sponsors in town,” says Scott. “Most nights I would be found at the hottest party in town, sitting at the owner’s table with beautiful women, drinking expensive champagne and looking like the guy who had it all.”
“I made about $ 200,000 a year, but lived like a millionaire thanks to the perks. I looked like the guy who had it all and for a while I did. I was twenty-eight and had an incredible run. But the last eight years of partying have been like a constant injection of adrenaline into my overworked system. My body was boring. My conscience was boiled. I couldn’t remember the last time I prayed. “
“I’d been chasing the wrong things for years – from the BMW I bought as a teenager, to the designer clothes I wore now, to the drugs I took and the hip cities I bragged about. But where did it leave me? With a numb body, a drug habit and fingernails that have been bitten into ugly pimples. I’d seen middle-aged men set their marriages on fire so they could date girls younger than their own daughters, only to see those relationships fall apart too. And I would enable and curate anything in the name of fun and money. It took me about ten years to do it, but somehow I managed to become the worst version of myself. “
This was Scott’s turning point and the beginning of his journey to heal his own life through service to others. My own turning point came after I recovered from surgery on my broken hand and realized I almost killed someone and seriously injured myself. I thought of my two children and didn’t want to be an absent or violent father. I kept seeing my father’s dark, empty curtain descend over me. What saved me was the commitment I made to my son when he was born.
When I was training my wife through the birth of our first child, the doctor said it was time for my wife to go to the delivery room. “It is time for you to go to the waiting room,” the doctor told me. I had become a dutiful man and did as he was told. But when I walked through the waiting room doors I was pulled back. I felt the calling of my unborn child who said, “I don’t want a father in the waiting room. Come back for me. “
I made a U-turn and went to the delivery room. There was no question of leaving if asked. I took my place at the end of the table and shortly thereafter our son was born. He was given to me and when the tears ran down my cheeks and looked down on him, I swore that I would be a different kind of father than my father could be to me and that I would do anything to create One world in which love and life replace violence and death.
Scott Harrison finds his calling to bring clean water to the world
Scott left his old life to pursue the opposite. He started applying to humanitarian organizations where he could help others, but all of his applications were turned down. “No charity wants me,” he said to his father. “I think promoting nightclubs isn’t high on the list of skills they’re looking for.”
When an offer finally came, it didn’t seem like much to him. It was a job with Mercy Ships, sailing along the coast of Africa bringing in the best of volunteer doctors to perform surgeries on people who cannot afford or have no access to medical care. He was offered a volunteer position as a photographer to document their work. He could volunteer if he was willing to pay them $ 500 a month for the privilege. He answered the offer.
He spent a year seeing people who devoted their lives to helping others and people who needed help in the worst possible way. He met Dr. Know Gary Parker, a respected surgeon who might have gotten fabulously rich reconstructing the faces of beautiful people in Beverly Hills but signed up for a three month tour with Mercy Ships to repair the faces of poor people with disfiguring facial tumors. “That was thirty years ago,” recalled Scott. “He just never left. He even met his wife Susan on board and they raised two children on the ship. “
“In June 2005, my tour with Mercy Ships ended, but I wasn’t ready to go,” recalled Scott. “My education felt incomplete and I didn’t want to say goodbye to my mentor, Dr. Gary.” As he spent time off the ship in the country, he realized that the biggest problem for people was not the lack of good doctors, but something even more important.
His friend Lafe took him to a village and then drove a little way to a small pond filled with muddy green water. “It smelled like rot and was covered in water bugs,” recalls Scott. “Across the way at the edge of the pond, a group of women and girls approached the water. They carried yellow jerry cans, the kind of plastic containers people use for gasoline at home. Except that these women filled their cans with pond water. “
“That’s it,” said Lafe.
“That’s what?” I said.
“The village we have just been to. This is their source of water.”
“You have to be kidding me,” I said. “You drink that?”
Mosquitos floated above the surface of the water, and I was pretty sure something big was moving underneath.
Lafe nodded. “Yes. It’s all you have.”
From that moment on, Scott felt that something was coming together for him. He knew what his purpose in life was. “I want to bring clean water to everyone on earth.”
Scott says, “785 million people do not have basic access to clean and safe drinking water. Our mission is to end the water crisis and bring clean and safe drinking water to all people in developing countries around the world. ” Why is that so important? “Dirty water,” says Scott, “is responsible for more deaths in the world than any form of violence.”
Since 2006, Charity: Water, an organization he founded, has financed more than 64,000 water projects and helped more than 12.6 million people in 29 countries. I heard him share his journey and was inspired to join his efforts. If clean water prevents more deaths in the world than all forms of violence, add me to it.
For more information, send me a message at [email protected] and include “End Violence, Bring Water” in the subject line.
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