Tonight as I look out my window I am greeted by the vision of so many other faces staring back at me. My thoughts fly into their rooms, behind their window and to what they are seeing and what they are hearing. Do they use their time at the window as a place to think about life or for them is it an escape from the boredom, fear or even terror that represents their own lives? If we could listen at their open window would we hear parents yelling in anger at each other? Would we hear the silence of loneliness and hopelessness?
Have you ever scanned the faces on the train? What are they thinking? What are they dreaming about? What is their existence like? Did they have supportive parents who spoiled them and told them every day how much they cared?
Normally in my work I encounter people who have been the victim of horrible acts of violence, usually physical or sexual, and are struggling to forget what they went through and try their best to become “normal” kids again. Then once in a while we encounter some poor souls who have endured some of the worst possible emotional trauma. Last week it was one whose guardian had told her that she was no longer wanted and she should go to school and tell school that she wasn’t wanted any longer.
You may well notice that I said “guardian” as her parents were in jail or in drug rehab so she had been abandoned by them before she was seven and now at nine she had encountered yet another sense of loss. Our wonderful state run family service agency arrived to tell the girl how it was her own fault for not following rules and that she deserved to go into foster care. He apologized to the school, saying that the child must be a handful.
This is when my thoughts from the window of him turned to throwing him physically out of one. I calmly explained that she was actually a straight A student who had NEVER been in any type of trouble. I then offered to take the child home to my family instead of foster care. We are waiting to see if that occurs but my thoughts tonight go out to those nameless faces and whether some have felt that abandonment, that sense of loss.
How horrible it is for a child to feel unloved. While teachers and others may strongly remind them daily that they can be or do anything when they get older, they still come home and feel hopeless. Every baby is born with the need to be cared for, to be loved. We never lose that need. The older we get the desire grows stronger. We need to feel that another human being cares and values us. How can we ever get them to believe in themselves? Society has told them that those closest to them should love them unconditionally. Society has lied to them so they no longer trust those lies.
I hugged her before I left and hugged her again the next day when I stopped in to visit. As I look out those windows, I want to reach out and hug them all. I want to say that I value them, even if no one else has. I cannot solve all the problems but I can add a smile and a hug or a handshake to those who have not felt that warmth.
Share your love today. Look at the person in the car next to you on your dull commute. Did they have a rough night alone or leave the house with no one showing them that they even cared? Give them a nod and a smile. How many times have you smiled at someone and not received a smile back? Rarely right? Smiles like yawns are contagious.
Make sure there are no strangers today. Instead of just seeing a person taking your order, take time to look at their face and their name tag. Thank them by name. Make a difference where you can. And as you look out the window, smile at those nameless faces, wave at them. Make the world a little smaller and a little more welcoming.
Life is not about our simple existence, life is all about living. Live life in a way that brings comfort and joy to those you encounter. Bring joy and not pain. Then you can look out your window at night and thank God for the chance to make a difference yet another day. Then smile and close your eyes, you will have another chance tomorrow.