Jacob's Ladder Jacob's Ladder

Several weeks ago I met a little boy named Jacob who was living in one of the SEEDS houses with his mother. I was asked if I could go over there and spend some time with him, and maybe bring my guitar to play for him, as well as help him with his cello, which he had just started learning to play.

Jacob's story is one much like my own. His father was both physically and sexually abusing him and his mother ran away with him to Arizona. I was told Jacob did not trust men, which also a trait I carried as a child. I played my guitar for Jacob and taught him how to play his cello a little bit and played and sang some songs for him. I also gave him a harmonica, which he loved right away. After about 2 hours, when Jacob was comfortable enough with me, he was sitting and kneeling on the floor next to me, playing the harmonica as I played the guitar. Together we played Sweet Home Alambama, a song he knew and requested I play. At the end I asked him to sing with me and he did! He sang the chorus with me and little Jacob managed a little smile. I ended up letting him keep the harmonica and I promised him I'd be back in about a month. I later heard that Jacob played that harmonica everyday for a week straight!

Meeting Jacob reminded me so much of myself, and many memories came flooding back of the men in my life as a child. Those who were there when I was ten, who I wished I had reached out to and told them of my abuse, but was too afraid to tell. I was so moved by Jacob, that when I sat down to write a song, this just poured out of me as did the tears.

I think there is a special, unspoken connection when two survivors meet. Without saying a word, you reach out to that place buried deep in your chest and everything you do or say comes from a place of love--a complete feeling of empathy and compassion. It is both healing for you and the person your sharing with. By reaching out to Jacob, I was in essence reaching out to my 10 year old self and saying to him, "It's ok, as long as I'm here with you, nothing will hurt you. You are safe."

For me, music is just one way to reach out to survivors, and in essence everyone who is hurting in some way. It's a message of hope, recovery, healing and forgiveness, all sung in a language that is understood by all people. That is why my portrait is called "The Connection." All living beings in this universe suffer in some way and everyone of us is on our own path towards healing and enlightenment. When I meet someone, I try to recognize their suffering and approach them in the most compassionate way possible. That extension of peace brings God's light into the world for all to find and brings me one more rung up on Jacob's Ladder.

Artist's Note: As a survivor of abuse, reaching out not only helps heal another victim, but it also brings personal healing to a survivor. The road to recovery is usually a life-long experience that can reap many good things if one is at peace with the past and learns to forgive, but not forget. As a male survivor, this beautiful person will help break the cycle of suffering as a role model for a little boy by being there, sharing, listening, and utilizing the wonderful healing powers of music. He is a role model for all of us.