She crossed from the McDonald’s parking lot to the median of the busy intersection. She stood about three cars in front of us. She was all of about twenty. Her blonde hair tumbled from the hood of her gray sweat jacket. With her skinny jeans, stylin’ boots, and backpack she could have been a college student from any of the nearby campuses. And then I saw her whip out her piece of cardboard with bold black letters that covered three lines with girlish undetectable scribbles along the sides.
I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I kept thinking that she was somebody’s child. Had her family run upon bad times with the current economic situation? Was she a runaway? Was somebody wondering if she was alive? Was she abused in some way? What was her story?
Then I thought maybe she is nobody’s child. Perhaps due to unforeseen circumstances she had no parents or relatives to take care of her. Maybe she had been a part of the foster care system and had reached the age where she couldn’t receive services to get her on her feet. The questions plagued me all the way to our destination. On the way back, I looked for her but didn’t see her. I said another prayer for her.
It aches me to see things like this in my own community. I am disappointed in myself that we did not turn around and try to do something for her. I hope someone behind me was a better person and more equipped to direct her where she could get the help she needed. I’ve prayed for her for the last few days. I so want to believe that this was just a Spring Break collegiate experiment for some sort of dissertation while a larger part of me cannot let go of my own guilt for my lack of action and responsibility to somebody’s child in need. I’ve always liked to think that if something ever happened to my husband and me, somebody would step forward to guide our children if they were in need.
We are all somebody’s child. Even after we grow up. As a responsible parent, we spend our days kissing boo boos, hoping to mend problems, teaching life skills, and directing our children in what we conceive to be the right path. You know the heartache of not being able to fix what is wrong in your child’s life. You know they reach a point in life that they have to take responsibility for their choices and actions. It’s difficult to deliver tough love. Was this homeless child an action of tough love? Though you might not call a twenty year old a child, I do. I don’t think they’ve had enough life experience to be expected to fly completely on their own with nowhere to turn when things fall flat.. An even every young adult needs a home to come back to when circumstances in life are overwhelming.
And bigger than that, we are all somebody’s child as in the children of God. Deep down, I know above and beyond all things humanly possible that He will ultimately take care of this child. It just reminds me that maybe we should bear in mind when we deal with others that they are also somebody’s child. Will it make us act and react in a gentler and kinder nature? Will we be more generous and loving by doing this? We probably won’t solve the world’s problems, but we might make a small dent in it becoming a better place to live.
I pray for this girl’s safety. I pray that she will not turn to drugs or prostitution. I pray that she will receive aid and guidance to get her life on the right path. I pray for a bright future for her. If you are a praying person, will you please say a prayer for somebody’s child?