I am reading a book called The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Its about a broken little girl who grows up to be a woman who is emancipated from the foster care system. She is a young woman who is angry, does not trust anyone, and is isolated in her own world of emotional walls and stand offs.
It has made me think of all of the broken children and adults I have known, of myself as a little girl. I didn't come from a family that was considered a "good" family. We weren't bad, but we weren't one of those really "neat" families either. My parents drank a lot, fought a lot, and they didn't volunteer for field trips or the PTO or to bring cupcakes to our class on our birthday. They didn't encourage any outside interests....if we got something going, they would pay for it, and drop us off, but they didn't hang around to watch or cheer us on. So very different from the busy body, all up in your business, type of parent I became!
This is not going to be my sad story of how awful I had it....firstly, it most certainly could have been much worse. I do believe my parents did the best they knew how to do and they did love me. Secondly, I have, as much as I am aware of, made peace with how things went. It was unfortunate in some ways, so much lost and wasted time not enjoying each other....but in other ways, my childhood is what made me into who I am. It sure gave me a taste for appreciating the really wonderful and loving people that I have met through the years who knew how to love, who knew how to share one's joy without being threatened by it, who could stand alongside during times of sadness and not take on responsibility....but instead just be there. I learned how to *be* by watching the people God placed in my life through the years. Quite literally, they taught me how to be an adult, a person, a wife and a mother, how to create a home.
Today, I am thinking about broken kids who grow up never learning what a miraculous gift they are. The kids who are not cherished and savored and celebrated. Who grow up behind the fortress around their soul that they have painstakingly constructed to protect their fragile selves from any more neglect and damage and pain. The kids who are not given choices, who are bullied and dominated, who are ruled over, or fit into an adult's life when its convenient, or rejected for not being what the parent had expected.
I am thinking of the potential beauty when by some miracle, they are touched and the fortress begins to chip and crumble. Little by little it breaks down and they cautiously let someone look inside at first. Not come in, just look....no touching. Through a series of events that are different for everyone, they timidly begin to trust, they begin to learn and watch those around them. They begin to model what they see. They begin to *be.*
Then I think of those who have no opportunity to open up, who continue to shut everything and everyone OUT. They hold the door to their soul shut so tightly, terrified of what might be on the other side....most pursuers give up trying to break through, and they walk away, leaving them to themselves, to their own misery and anger and despair.
It is one of the greatest tragedies I know of, when a child is not acknowledged as the profound miracle that they are. When they are pushed aside, ignored, not listened to, not given boundaries to teach them how to live, not given our time.....
I am thinking of the kids who see a different way, but they can't figure out for the life of them.....how to get over to that side.