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The cry of a child

June 24, 2018

This week many of us were moved by the heart-wrenching cry of a child. A child we do not know, and nor will meet. The outcry around the world was for children who were obviously experiencing trauma. Children, we were told, who were separated from their families then placed in a facility very unlike the home they knew, and cried out wanting to return to. Children, we could see and hear, who were clearly afraid, sad and fearful of where they were, what they didn’t understand, and that they would not be reunited with those they love.

The sound of the children crying moved men, women, politicians, teachers, child advocates, athletes, clergy, those who names we are familiar with and those whose names will never be known to us.

The cry of a child evoked much reaction and action, as every child’s sincere and heartfelt cry should do.

Our God is a most wise Father, leader and teacher and once again I have felt the presence of Him busy teaching me, moving me and pulling me deeper this past week.

I, too, heard the cry of the child that you heard, and of a few children you didn’t.

I too was moved with concern for the children who would never forget the trauma that was now a part of their memory and being.

My heart ached throughout this week hearing that painful call for help from the children I didn’t know, and from the children that I do.

What do you remember from your childhood?

Most likely you don’t remember all of the meals you ate; the feeling of the bed you slept in; what toilet paper was in your bathroom; or possibly not even each of the bikes you rode, which at the time were most likely a very important possession of your younger years.

However, I guarantee you can recall from your memory bank: abuse that you experienced; a death, loss or separation of a loved one; hardship that you lived through; violence that you witnesses; a trauma that you experienced that still lingers on your mind, in your heart and is permanently etched in your being. Perhaps when you heard that cry this week it brought back memories of a cry from your past, or your child’s.

The cry we heard created a reaction that set in motion action, as every child’s sincere and heartfelt cry should do.

One of the blessings that God has granted me is to be present in the lives of children here and now in our corner of the world. For this blessing I thank Him every single day, and I often fall to my knees pleading with Him to help me do more for them when I hear their cry. Sometimes the cry has been a sob, sometimes it is one held back for too long trying to overcome the fear to share with me something bothering them, often it is in their acting out (then being “rewarded” with more time with me aka. community service, for which becomes an opportunity to “deepen” our friendship, and in retrospect hopefully not viewed as punishment after all). Sometimes the cry comes from the mouth of a very young friend, sometimes a vulnerable and hurting teen, and sometimes from one who has passed through the halls our high school and emerged on the other side unsure and nervous of what the future is to hold for them.

This week I sat and listened to multiple cries all from beautiful yet broken hearts of those way too young to be in such pain. It was an unusual week that gifted me with the time and opportunity to sit face to face with five different young friends who have or are experiencing trauma and hardships in their lives; trauma that they will forever carry with them. Over and over I found myself putting my hands on, and around them and telling them to not allow the trials to break them but to strengthen them so that they can rise above and soar to who they are created to be. Words that were said and heard, but that will only become reality with action by them, but more importantly offered with action from myself and other adults who surround them in this corner of the world.

We can calm the storm, provide relief, and walk them from the trauma onto a path that will take them to a happier and healthier future. But will we?

We as adults can teach or taunt; help or harm; support or scar; build up or break down; be the encouragement they need to spread their wings and soar, or the reason they never feel that feeling of pride and confidence to become what they were created to be.

We may not be able to fix the situation, but we can better it.

We may not be able to keep them from trials in their life, but we can surely do our best to not add trauma into it.

We can create more opportunities to hear their laughter and not turn our head and ignore their cry.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” ~ Matthew 19:14

The cry of children ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning                                                               “When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word! ‘Our Father!’ If He heard us, He would surely (for they call Him good and mild” Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely, ‘Come and rest with me, my child’. “

This past week my heart has truly ached with a desire to calm the cry, the pain, the fear of what is and what will be of a child far from my reach and here within my reach. My prayers have been, and will continue to be, that more hearts than mine will feel the call to be God in this world and allow Him to work through us to move us to every and any action we can produce that will calm the cry, heal the heart, lift the spirit and unconditionally love any and all child. To love the world as God loves us, with mercy, grace and unconditional love. Not just the easy ones but every one. To be the extension of His love that moves Him to greet us on our final day with open arms and an exclamation of “Well done my child, come, be safe, be loved as I love you, and as you have loved my children.”

Wishing you peace and comfort,

Terri O’Neill-Borders




Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

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