I have to be honest. I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately. I’ve started blog posts, deleted them, started again, and then stepped away from my computer wondering if a creative idea, emotive words, or inspiration will ever enter my mind again.
How could I write about anything else? What is more important, in our current affairs of the world, than the way we treat children? I simply could not find the words to write. My thoughts took me to a place of guilt for even thinking about writing about other issues that seem less important.
It seems hard to write after what has happened in my community. The smallish,seemingly safe city that I grew up in entered into a darkness these past few weeks. The shocking abduction of a young girl in front of her neighbors, the search for her, and the grim discovery of her body seemed to freeze our little spot on this spinning, blue planet, in grief.
It is not that my hometown is free of violence or despair. Our growing city of just over 162,000 has seen its share of events that mimic the often depraved nature of our culture. Child abuse statistics are some of the highest in the state. Drugs have invaded the city. Domestic violence shelters seem to be full most of the time. And, there are plenty of children and families who go to bed hungry each night.
However, this act of violence was quite different from the ones we’ve experienced. This little girl became all of our daughters, and our sons. Because of her death, we all have hovered a little more, kept a watchful eye, and hugged an extra time or two. We have all clung onto the stark reminder that our children are the most valuable gifts we have ever been given.
A little over a week ago, my city held a candlelight vigil for the girl and her family. Over 10,000 people showed up; 10,000 lights lit up our little corner of the world.
Ten thousand personal moments of silence. Ten thousands prayers said, and songs sang. Thousands of tears shed. Thousands of whispers of love, grief, and hope, found their way to Heaven that night.
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. -Helen Keller
When I first saw this image, my breath escaped me. In this image I see sadness, loss, and anger. What I also see is light, love, strength, and hope. I see unity. I see a community raising their candles and speaking out loud that children matter.
I see confirmation that kindness still exists, and that one of the most powerful God-given emotions is that of love.
I see light suffocating darkness.
I see the armor of light.
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. – Romans 13:12