Thursday, September 30, 2010

the weight of the world

yesterday while m was in class i was talking to my friend hannah about blogging. when i started this blog we had just found out m was deaf, and it began as a place for me to write and process. i think lately i have been writing a lot of posts in my head, but not feeling it once i sit down to write. so, it is a new season, and one in which i parse out what i want to write and what this blog space is about. i haven't quite figured it out.

this week has felt heavy.

since this is such a public arena i won't go into details, but i have been reminded this week that there are so many children in this world that are neglected, overlooked, or damaged by their own parents. it grieves me to see these little ones fending for themselves and not knowing anything else but survival because that is all their life has ever been. i was struck by this the other day when i was in the kitchen in the middle of making dinner and i swooped down on m to tell her how much i loved her; outside i could hear the voice of a little boy who rarely if ever hear those words.

i think poor parenting and neglect exists in all kinds of neighborhoods and socio-economic levels (although it may look different in those various contexts). living in an urban area, in which living spaces are closer together, means that you are up in each other's business more often. lately i have been experiencing this as i am in relationship or close proximity to lots of neighbors.

m's therapist was surprised yesterday when during therapy m was talking about her "neighbors" and "neighborhood." i wasn't as shocked- just because we talk to lots of neighbors, and there are lots of kids playing outside and visiting all the time. that is one of the gifts of living in a city, but it also means you can't avoid coming into close contact with the ways we as human beings are selfish and fallible. it means sometimes you witness firsthand the neglect, abuse, or emotional violence of children. suffice it to say i have experienced all of these this week. it just grieves me. i can make phone calls and intervene in little ways, but the reality is that we live in a broken world.


  1. friend, i just want to hug you. that really does feel like the weight of the world. being reminded of how broken our world is is so heartbreaking. xoxo

  2. Sending you a virtual hug- these are the things that can make your heart shatter into a million little pieces. I was looking at an adoption photolisting the other day, and a description of a small boy stopped my breath cold. The description stated: "severe disability due to a non-accidental traumatic injury."

    What a cold, bureaucratic way to state the child was the victim of horrendous abuse.

    I'm off to give my kids a hug.

  3. A deeply imperfect world. It's close to home, it's all around the globe, and it can make you feel pretty helpless.

    Susannah, there may be limits to what you can do to intervene for those kids -- not for lack of will, but because these problems are just plain hard to solve -- but maybe your presence in their lives, a neighbor who has a loving smile and whose home is a sanctuary, will end up being the solid, safe thing they remember when they're adults, something that ends up being a key to their survival and success. Many people from difficult backgrounds point to one or two key people who were there for them when they needed it.

    At some point Ben is going to start rejecting all of my constant cuddling and "I love yous", but I'll never stop imposing them on him!


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