I read an article this morning that can only be described as horrific. I knew when I clicked on the link that my own heart hung in suspension and that reading the words that followed the title would undoubtedly change me. But, still, I read on. By the third paragraph I could only skim through to the end. At least 800 bodies of babies and children found in a septic system. Unmarked. Unexplained. Unacceptable.
So there it went. The lightness of the day, gone. My heart shrinking heavily into a corner of my chest. My Mommy-heart bruised by this tragedy. The tug of war between rage and sorrow that something this terrible was allowed to happen, did happen, and cannot be undone.
I have thought about the unwed mothers these children belonged to, the people running this house of horror, and of course, of these babies that should be holding their grandbabies about now, all day long. They have been with me as I vacuumed, swept, tidied, and went about my day. My heart has hurt for them every time I have looked at my own babies, watching them play , oblivious to any suffering in the world.
This is the kind of story that I can never share with my husband. “Unicorns and rainbows”, he always says to me when I try to share the burden of my heavy heart by sharing the burden of what I know. Unicorns and rainbows, keep it light and happy. My husband, who turns off any movie where children or mothers die, no matter how far into the story we are. If I want to bask in tragedy, it will not be with him by my side.
But, maybe he has a point…. So, I’m thinking, and maybe trying to apply first aid to my soul, by looking at things a little differently. I am not big enough to contain the knowledge of how these lives were taken, what came before or after. What I want to know is this: was there kindness? Was there some nun in this catholic home that meant her vows? Did she work there because she loved her God and loved her people? Did she light up any corner of this dark place with a smile, a hug, a whisper of encouragement? Did she care for skinned knees or go without dinner so that a child could for once feel full; did she sing or speak softly, or rock a scared toddler to sleep, cradling them in the safety of her arms?
I am physically and metaphysically an ocean away from this depravity and will probable never know. But even here, there is suffering. There is lack. There are people being told that they should live in shame because of their circumstances or lifestyle. There is pain that is raw and real and nothing like unicorns and rainbows, and it’s all around me. I see it in parking lots as people jerk and twitch, unable to control their bodies, now covered in sores from meth. I see it under the bridge as I drive past people who have set up camp under what the city meant to be an overpass. I see it, have seen it for the last 9 years, working with foster children who have nowhere else to go.
Need is all around. But so is kindness. As many times as I have thought I have lost all faith in humanity, it has been restored. For every evil in this world, there is at least one kindness. Usually more. There are people who give up their wants to help others with their needs. People who give and do not take. We are a triumphant people. So used to victory that we feel entitled enough to keep going until we find it. Life is not for the faint of heart. No matter who you are, you will be battered and bruised and someways broken, but you will learn to walk again. Anne Frank was not wrong to believe that goodness overcomes evil. Her legacy still inspires, still lives on. She must have known kindness. I want others to know it, too.
I have seen fear tear down, and kindness build up. Kindness continues on, long after fear has run out of steam. If we are brave enough, we can all be kind. To everyone. We can light a matchstick of kindness that darkness cannot snuff out. We can work together so that our act of rebellion is that the light finally overtakes the darkness. So, who is with me?