A child came to my door today. I didn’t know his name. He stood there trembling, tears streaming down his face, trying to speak while he held his head. He wanted to use my phone, but what he needed was so much more.
A gentle touch, a kind word, and to be heard… while we waited for the sheriff and paramedics to arrive. This 11 year old boy was beaten by his mother from head to toe. “It happens all the time,” he said, with staggered words through panicked breath. A glass of water and a hand on his shoulder were all I could offer. I wondered if he’d ever been touched by anything other than anger.
I wonder now if he’ll ever know the gift he gave to me today. A gift of service, yes, and the privilege of being there for another, but more than this. In the presence of his pain I felt my own. In his need for love I found more love in my heart than I knew was there. I have prayed for help and guidance to live as love more in the world and this child showed up to answer the call. His suffering broke my heart … open enough that love could rush in and fill all the broken pieces in it.
The boy will go live with his father now and the other kids may also. The mother was arrested when she went to the hospital. Will she ever see the healing that her kids can bring to her? Will she ever let her heart break open in the presence of their love? I don’t know. I do know that when our heart breaks it is an opportunity for healing and an invitation to show up as love.