I was standing with my head tilted sideways, scanning new titles in the front of the library on a gorgeous end-of-summer afternoon when I heard the little snuffles and looked up to see two ten year olds carrying a young child out of the library onto the sidewalk.
It was just a flash, and they were gone, just long enough to break my heart and bring stinging tears to my eyes.
The little one's mouth was bleeding. He must have fallen into something.
"That's why we told you to stay with us, you retard." hissed one of the children.
I recoiled at the hateful words out of one so young and then they were gone, too late, nothing anyone could do.
I wanted to offer a bandaid, to reprimand the cruelty, to wipe away the blood and tell the little fella it was okay to cry, but they were gone.
The little whimpers and the sneer stayed with me all afternoon, bothered me, hurt my heart.
Why were they all alone? What awful words had been hurled at the older children that they would be so quick to lash out at the little guy? He was too little to have such controlled little tears. Where did they go?
I know too well that abandoned, lonely children are all around us. You don't have to go to Africa to see hurting little kids.
And what am I doing to help? I don't know. I wanna help where I can. It's not cool or fun though when the grimy little urchin from down the street pops into my kitchen without knocking. I give myself a mental medal for sharing our pizza pool party with dear friends . . . and a thirteen year old neighbor boy, but that's pretty small and even I know it.
On a different note entirely, as quick as I am to cringe at the unkind words at the library, out of my own mouth pour bitter words at my husband, frustration at my children, sarcasm when I don't agree with your point of view, and how am I so different?
Kindness in a world of cruelty. . . so very rare.
Kindness in the little safest place called home. . . rare, there too.
It shouldn't be rare.
It starts with me.
Two quotes staying with me this week:
Go where Jesus is pointing. If you're not sure where that is, go to the poor. Bob Goff
I believe Christianity happens when men and women experience the reckless, raging confidence that comes from knowing the God of Jesus Christ. Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God