The Arts & Entertainment (A&E) channel has a new series on cable television called Intervention that is both awful and touching in the same moments. The story of Tamela was especially moving. Tamela, beautiful, strong, smart, a winner in every surface respect, is a “cutter” in her core or, as the National Institute for Mental Health labels her illness, a “self-mutilator.”
Tamela pulls apart disposable razors and cuts her skin in intricate patterns just enough to draw blood. Sometimes she digs too deep — as we saw on the show — and needs to attend the hospital to be stitched back together.
The unfortunate common thread of all the stories told on Intervention is one of the “Absent Father.” The fathers of the those profiled on Intervention were either physically or mentally impaired or they were completely missing in the lives of the lost even if they were in the same room. Intervention teaches us that active, attentive, involved, fathers matter in the lives of their children.
In Tamela’s case you see how much she yearns for a connection with her father and he is either unable or unwilling to offer even a touch of affection for his daughter, let alone look her in the eye. I have never seen a more obvious case where a simple hug would go a long way to help a daughter start healing. Tamela’s father refuses to touch her even when she begs him for a human connection.
The most interesting aspect of Intervention is how smart these people are who get lost. They are not degenerates like you see on Cops. They are not wackos like you see on the evening news. These people are well-educated, caring, volatile-at-times, but always human and hurting and forever yearning to get out of the hole they are digging whether they realize it or not.
We recognize, and connect with, their want for a better life. Intervention proves every week just how easy it is to get lost. The line between succeeding and failing is as thin as a page of Isaiah. Being smart or rich or well-connected doesn’t mean we won’t get lost one day and when that day comes we want someone willing to pull us up out of the hole because many of us do not understand the first rule of holes is to stop digging.
All of us need someone able to pry the shovel from our fists and that is what Intervention beautifully documents every Sunday night.