Some of you know I worked for ten long years at a county office of Children and Youth Services. But only those of you who used to work there, or still do, can understand the helplessness you feel, the absolutely RAW emotional and physical pain you see in children almost daily, and the powerlessness you have to do anything real to change things for even just one of them.
When I left that job three years ago, I thought I sealed it up in a box and stuck it on a shelf, never to be seen again. But last week, I attended a funeral for a well-respected man and father of two teenagers. Their pain was palpable…tangible. I was so close, I could have reached out and touched their tear-stained faces. And something inside just broke. Not just for those two wonderful kids who just lost the greatest man in their lives….but for all the many kids whose hearts were broken for all those years I worked for the county. All their names, faces, and stories came back in a massive, kinda traumatic blur.
I had to open up that sealed box again and look at some moments I would much rather forget. Moments that only seem to say “this world is so full of evil”, and “life is never fair”. Children robbed of their innocence, raped by monsters, masquerading as people.
I was reminded today that there is always a reason for our pain, and one day, someone called Faithful and True will swoop in on His mighty, white horse to avenge EVERYTHING!!!! (Rev. 19:11)
There are moments I wish I would have never had to see. But these are the same moments children never want to LIVE! The very least I could do was be a witness…to say “I saw you”, much like Jesus wants each of us to know He “saw us”, in our weakest of moments, in our most shameful of positions, in our most painful of circumstances.
There are words to a song by Sarah Groves called “I Saw What I Saw”. And even though they are written for children in Africa, I thought they summed up exactly what I’ve been feeling…now, maybe I can soon put this box away for good.
I saw what I saw and I can’t forget it
I heard what I heard and I can’t go back
I know what I know and I can’t deny it
Something on the road, cut me to the soul
Your pain has changed me
your dream inspires
your face a memory
your hope a fire
your courage asks me what I’m afraid of
(what I am made of) and what I know of love
we’ve done what we’ve done and we can’t erase it
we are what we are and it’s more than enough
we have what we have but it’s no substitution
Something on the road, touched my very soul
I say what I say with no hesitation
I have what I have and I’m giving it up
I do what I do with deep conviction
Something on the road, changed my world