-Henri Nouwen, "The Wounded Healer"
I just finished reading a lengthy, very technical article on how trauma in childhood can lead to inflammation, early disease and death among affected adults. Halfway through the article, I found myself taking a heavy blanket off of the couch and wrapping myself in it, not because I was cold, but because I needed the physical barrier of warmth wrapped around me to quell the growing horror in my heart.
This happens frequently during my afternoon readings. I text Hubs and tell him I want to hug all of the children.
While talking with a friend last week about my study of child advocacy, I told her that most of the time I interact with the material in a sense of dread and passion. Part of my heart doesn't want to read about all the horrible things that happen to children when they are neglected or abused. I don't want to know the imperfections of our systems for attempting to help these children. I don't want to know about the many that slip through the cracks and the long term effects of trauma.
"But," I said to my friend, "Now that I know, I have to do something."
In this educational season of my life, I feel that the Lord is preparing me for a compassionate role towards the downtrodden. I have no idea what that will look like in the future, but in the midst of this certificate program I am sensing the importance of seeing these hurt children as image bearers of Christ and my neighbors.
I am learning much that is breaking through my own prejudices and assumptions. I pray that the sort of compassion that sees every human face as the face of a neighbor continues to grow in my heart through this, and even though the knowledge is hard, I can trust God to help me find a way to use it to make a difference.