Monday, August 16, 2010

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes.

This past April my friend Sam and I traveled to D.C. for an IJM conference. We spent time in and around the capitol, stood where MLK gave his "I have a dream" speech, walked the solemn, heart rending halls of the Holocaust Memorial, and criss-crossed the city on subways and shuttle buses. On the walls of the public transit vehicles were PSAs and other messages on every subject from littering to child abuse. One campaign had quotes from school children and one particular quote from a fifth grader named
Carolyn Keshap broke my heart as well as blowing my mind. She said:

"I stare at the fire. It is dimming. Now it is nothing. I light it again. I wish it were that easy for me to restart my life. Considering how many people I have hurt."


I do not know what "hurt" this little girl thinks she has perpetrated on others, only that the perfect poetry and the emotional immensity of her words left me breathless.

Today as I sat far from D.C, far removed from the fifth grade, and on the other side of the gender divide, I conjured Miss Keshap's words, tried to wrap my clumsy mind around the colossal significance of them. And I was reminded that children often blame themselves for the crimes of others. That abused children will many times assume that they are being repaid for their own disobedience or failures or even that they should expect the abuse because of their lack of worth. I know these syndromes have been documented in enough books to fill a small library, but those words, on a bus, written by a fifth grader, said more in that small space, then a thousand libraries full of textbooks written by
PhDs. And not just that, but her words articulated the cry of so many devastated hearts of people of every age, the need for approval, acceptance and love.

Not sure what to say but that I hope Carolyn has somebody to tell her she's beautiful and full of worth and wonder. And I hope she has gotten over her self-loathing and will believe them when they tell her. But more than anything I hope she does get to start again, born anew, into the family of God by the sacrifice of the Son, adopted by the Spirit and sealed for all time.


  1. Wow. Your stories always tug on my heart. I'll be saying a prayer for Carolyn today.