Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Sis brought out hand-me-down dance shoes this afternoon. She asked me to help her get them on since they were so “smiggily” (translated as hard to slip on with the tongue stuck inside). These special shoes used to belong to a dreamy ballerina a few years older than Sis who passes her clothes on as she grows. Huge bags of cute things arrive covered in pixie dust and Sis rolls up the cuffs and stands on tiptoe to convince me that they fit. She was twinkle-eyed as I laced up the black leather slippers, planning her performance. Once double knotted, she leaped off towards the stage between the couch and dining room table. I remarked, “These special shoes are awesome! Now you won’t slip!” Crashing chairs and knees skidding across the wood floor muffled the end of my statement. Gravity had won again.
Later, as we drove around town, Sis inspected her legs in the backseat. “Mom, I have six bruises! Bruises tell about good stories.” She was parroting back a statement I make repeatedly. Every time she falls of her scooter and whacks her shin. Or rides her bike into the gravel. Or slips on a hike. She moves at full speed with gusto. It is a gift of her personality. So we talk, in positive terms, of the wounds that naturally and frequently come.
But her remark struck a discordant note in the light of news I had heard recently. A family in California had adopted three beautiful little girls from Liberia. They made the news when the adoptive parents beat the older two daughters: one all the way to heaven and the other into a hospital bed where she hung on to her life by a thin and straining thread. I cried over the news. I almost was sick. I was angry. It was impossible to conceive of children hurt at the hand of their parents. But I know that this unspeakable reality is silently and fearfully lived out for children all over the planet. I cannot wrap my brain around statistics about child trafficking or domestic abuse. I don’t know what my role is in defending their cause, but I do know that bruises don’t always tell good stories.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8