The news from Belgium saddened me, as the news of all violence and killing saddens me. I was watching the news of the bombings and feeling sad, when I heard the laughter of small children and looked out the window. I saw a four-year-old boy leading his three-year-old sister by the hand on the way to our school here, St. Caryn’s. They were wearing their pink shirts with a brown skirt for her and brown shorts for him. They were smiling and excited about school which starts with two cups of hot ujii (porridge). I realized then that Christ knew exactly what He was saying when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Our hope for the future lies in the children of this world, in their innocence, in their love of all things, and in their smiles and laughter. I remembered a poster from “Another Mother for Peace” back in the 1970’s which read, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” We must protect our children. It is built into our DNA, but it seems we need some increased awareness that our first responsibility is not to ourselves but to our children and those of the whole world. Jesus told us to remember “the widows and orphans” and He didn’t mean to send them Hallmark cards. He meant for us to care for them, protect them, and make them safe. Christ also told us that unless we could become as children that we could not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I enjoy watching movies and television shows, but I cannot watch any show or movie that contains rape or putting any child or children in peril. There is a series called “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” that I have never seen since every case involves rape or child molestation. I have gotten up and left movie theaters and even left my own living room when I realized what was happening on the screen. The only time I have ever been guilty of violence against another human being was back in the 1980’s. I was at the Sears store when the man next to me back-handed his three-year-old daughter and knocked her into a counter where she cut her head and began bleeding. Without thinking, I grabbed the man and threw him (don’t know where I got that strength) into the lawn mower display. The people around me applauded, but he said he was calling the police. I told him to call them and I would testify against him. I didn’t care what happened to me, but I was not going to stand by and watch him beat his children. He grabbed his daughter and ran out of the store. I am not proud of what I did. I never realized how strong my feelings of wanting to protect children ran through my blood. I apologized to those watching, but they were on my side. This was long before I became a servant of the church, but the strong emotions of wanting to protect and care for children have never left me. I thanked God this morning for giving me the sight of that brother and sister taking care of each other, especially since I know they have no parents. We do what we can here, but it is woefully inadequate to the need.
I know my sins, and they are many, but not caring or loving children is not and never will be among them. I posted a picture of me helping a little girl with her new shoes yesterday, and it reminded me of the feeling of warmth that filled my soul when she smiled and thanked me. We must never forget the children. A friend of mine (long since passed away) named Art Arthur was a war correspondent who made a movie called “What about the children?” after WWII. That movie led to the creation of UNICEF, and Art always said it was the best thing he ever did. Never forget that our hope and the hope of the world lies in tiny hearts and hands whose lives lie in our hands.