I almost can't watch TV anymore. Half the shows are criminal justice shows, and it's too real. My child came from a home where those stories are REAL. Just 45 minutes from my front door. What if she'd stayed there? What about the other kids in that environment? It's real.
[[ photo of the closet where 8yr old Lauren Atkinson was found after being locked there for 4yrs just outside of Dallas ]]
It's not "entertainment," but heartbreaking REALITY.
In the New Testament, when Jesus does something to help someone, we often read that he was "moved with compassion." This isn't just a feeling of sadness, the Greek word here, σπλαγχνίζομαι, is a fuller word that means that your insides, your organs, are upset by what you've seen and you are so uncomfortable that you have to DO something. It's not "I feel sad" but "I'm suffering with you because of what I see and I HAVE to help, I'm MOVED to help."
Pictures like the one above tend to disgust us, make us turn our faces away. They make us wish we'd never seen them. But what if it wasn't a picture? What if you opened that closet yourself and saw that little girl, 8yrs old but the size of an average 2yr old? Would you turn away? Would you close the door?
No. You'd reach in. You'd reach into that filth and pull out that little girl because she's REAL. You'd be moved with compassion to help. You couldn't turn away if you were right there.
Dr. Amy Barton of Children's Medical Center Dallas says, “Unfortunately, we see many kids like this — children who come in who have injuries of multiple ages,” she said. “This means that this child has been injured several times over a period of time, and people may have seen, but because they didn’t intervene, they [the children] are now in the ICU. The severity in Dallas is worse, honestly."
From a 2011 Dallas Morning News Article by Sarah Kraemer, "Last year, 33,000 cases were reported in Dallas County, and 6,000 of them were confirmed. Each week, Barton sees between 20 and 35 abused children, with injuries ranging from bruises to broken rib cages and skull fractures."
This Dallas based doctor sees 20-35 abused children per week. PER WEEK.
Where do those kids go?
To foster homes in the Dallas area.
Who speaks for them besides their attorneys?
CASA workers of counties like Dallas, Collin, Denton, etc.
Could you be moved to help? Does it just make you sad when you hear that kids in your town are locked in cages, starved, beaten, sexually abused, born addicted to drugs, and more, or are you sick to your stomach about it and feel the need to help?
The thing is that we don't see it. Not really. We live in our sterilized suburbs. We know the stories are out there, but we aren't moved to help because they aren't in front of us. But we're grown up people with grown up hearts, right?
What if we CHOOSE to open those proverbial closet doors? What if we choose to be the ones who see them? What if we, instead of happening across a closet door, stand, holding open our own front doors, waiting to help?
Could you be a foster parent? Maybe a CASA?
Could you be feeling, deep within you, moved by compassion to do something?